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High School Students Create Art To Highlight The Cancer Journey Of Patients

April 2, 2020

Getting diagnosed and treated for cancer is easily the most difficult event someone can go through in their life. Some patients try to understand their struggle through words or music. And sometimes, art created by others can play a role.

Beyond the Canvas grew out of an outreach effort by Amanda Purdy, director of Academic Affairs, and Glenn Rall, chief academic officer, at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

The CentennialX Student Design program was created by Ignacio Jayo, a science teacher at William Tennent High School in Warminster.

After meeting with Fox Chase staff, two honors art students at Tennent, Diraya Serrano and Tyler Yannuzzi, were chosen to meet with cancer patients and interpret the patient journey through artwork. Helen Gordon, director of Volunteer Services and co-chair of the art committee, helped get the project approved and implemented.

While facing cancer, she had a vision of purpose and never lost sight of that through foggy circumstances.”
DIRAYA SERRANO, STUDENT ARTIST

Yannuzzi used paper tape on matboard to depict patient Lainie Sykes’s place of tranquility.

Serrano chose clay as her medium and created a large vase depicting various scenes representing the story of patient Judy Bernstein. Serrano then painted the three sides of the vase to illustrate various aspects of Bernstein’s journey. One painting featured the sun shining through clouds.

“The sun shining light behind the clouds represents her ability to shine through cloudy situations,” Serrano wrote of the painting and Bernstein’s positive attitude. “While facing cancer, she had a vision of purpose and never lost sight of that through foggy circumstances.”

Tennent art teacher Rena Friedant helped guide the students through their artistic journey with help from the Doylestown Art Studio, which provided the students with space to create the art. When their pieces were done, Serrano and Yannuzzi were able to showcase their work at the Women’s Center at Fox Chase.

Originally published in Forward, Winter/Spring 2020
Publication
Fox Chase Cancer Center Forward