Art Inspires, Supports, and Gives Hope to those Fighting Cancer

For six years local artists have donated art to inspire fundraisers, give hope to patients, and support creative researchers looking for new ways to fight and treat cancer.

Focus article photo

NCCC Director Mark Israel; artist Ben Frank Moss; former Friends board member Jane Kitchel McLaughlin; Executive Director, Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center Jean Brown; Hood Museum Director Michael Taylor

There are many ways to participate in the Prouty: people walk, row, bike, golf, or join the more than 1,200 volunteers at the 2-day event. In recent years local artists have contributed an annual Pinnacle Prize, very limited editions of artwork given to anyone who raises $10,000 for the Prouty. On May 16, 2013, more than 90 people gathered at the Hood Museum for the unveiling of this year's Pinnacle Prize by Ben Moss.

Michael Taylor, director of the Hood, introduced Moss, who taught for 20 years at Dartmouth and was the George Frederick Jewett Professor of Studio Art and chairman of the Studio Art department before retiring in 2008. One of the most influential and highly regarded landscape painters working today, Moss has had more than 60 solo exhibitions and his work is owned by 43 museum collections.

"These paintings reveal his deep understanding of color and nature, which he distills into nuanced evocation of horizon and air, earth, and sky," Taylor said in his introduction. "Rather than painting on site from photographs, he paints expansive, luminous landscapes from memory and his imagination."

The 2013 Pinnacle Prize prints, created from oil on paper original, are titled Mount Promise. "For me, the sea and the mountains extend an invitation, a question, a mystery, movement towards the grand and a sense of home. When I start, at best, I might see a landscape, and it's after that it suggests hopefully something of a mystery that can't be explained," he told the group. "There are those who have seen this painting who insist that the background is a cloud, and for others it is a mountain."

For Jane Kitchel McLaughlin, former Friends board member, long-time volunteer, and one of those who first reached out to local artists, the image is reminiscent of parts of the Prouty Ultimate course, which she has ridden many times on her bicycle. She was especially drawn to the fact that while an abstract, the image evokes stretches of the route where riders look out over views of Mount Cube.

Ben Moss - The Prouty
Artist Ben Frank Moss with Mount Promise

Moss, whose wife is a breast cancer survivor and whose own radiation treatment for breast cancer was completed just six months ago, noted that it was wonderful to see art on the walls on his many visits to NCCC. He hopes Mount Promise— "representing the possible"—will assist those who encounter the original painting at the hospital, where it is now part of the NCCC collection.

Local artists make a difference in the fight against cancer

Now in its 32nd year, the Prouty has raised more than $17 million to fund research that uncovers better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer. The event attracts a passionate community of participants eager to contribute something, each in their own way, to help fight cancer.  Past contributing artists include woodcut artist Sabra Field, potter Miranda Thomas, painter Henry Isaacs, glass artist Simon Pearce, and artist Margaret Lampe Kannenstine.

"It is really remarkable that every single artist we have approached has said yes," said McLaughlin. "Each has been touched by cancer, either through their own treatment or through a significant relationship with someone who has experienced the disease."

Taking a chance on the unknown brings hope

"The Prouty brings people together to participate in giving people hope," said Mark Israel, director of NCCC. "Prouty dollars support patient and family services, and scientists with creative ideas. This funding allows researchers to take a chance on the unknown, and supports preliminary studies that provide the data required for applications for larger grants." From 2006-2010 Prouty pilot grants of $1.2 million dollars went on to bring in more than $20 million in federal grants.

The 2012 Prouty Pilot Grants are allowing researchers to explore new approaches to fighting cancer, including:

  • developing ways to use the body's immune system to identify and attack metastatic tumors
  • multi-spectral optical imaging of brain tumor resection
  • discovering novel drug combinations for the treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

This year's Prouty is on July 12 and 13, 2013. To see how you can contribute, visit The Prouty.

May 20, 2013