Beyond the Canvas


What is it?

Beyond The Canvas is a program developed by William Tennent High School students in 2019 in collaboration with Fox Chase Cancer Center. This program connects student artists from William Tennent to cancer patients at Fox Chase in order to create a work of art inspired by the patients' individual journey.  During a 3 week program called senior experience, students interview, draft, and create a piece of artwork based off the individuals personal cancer journey.

To learn more about Beyond the Canvas click HERE.

What is the process?

  • Students enrolled in AP Art are given an authentic challenge by a Fox Chase professional
  • Students work with teacher mentors and innovation coaches to develop potential solutions to the given challenge
  • Students pitch potential solutions and receive iterative feedback from professional partners
  • Students share their ideas in a culminating conference

The Beyond The Canvas collection



Delaney Lockett

Inspired by: Arlene

Arlene’s story is one of incredible growth. Losing both her beloved son and husband to cancer, Arlene volunteers at Fox Chase as a caretaker and describes herself as someone who “knows their emotions” when referring to the patients she supports. Arlene has taken her knowledge and experiences and is dedicating her time to helping others with their cancer journey while both supporting them and preparing them; all without a proverbial silver lining.

Arlene’s journey has become one of offering her hand in an effort to uplift others. To represent this, I symbolize life as flowers and vines to show the beauty of Arlene’s story. Nasturtiums represent victory. Yellow flowers honor caretakers, and purple sheds a light on the admiration held for Arlene and her efforts. Peonies honor the love and beauty in Arlene’s character. And finally the vines, the vines growing and intertwining emblematize human connection, strength, and determination. It was difficult not to throw as many flowers as possible to represent all the things that I saw in Arlene. Through that I wanted to represent both Arlene and her son, Peter, in this painting through their hands. One feminine and one more masculine. These hands hold up a heart, and much like Arlene, the heart beats on, and is a symbol of tenacity and strength.

I hope that this piece inspires others to grow and use their story as fuel to make the world around them blossom. Loss does not signify defeat, rather it is a reason to keep going. We must take loss and feed it to create new life and new beginnings.

View Delaney's presentation of her artwork.


Alexandra Tsishchanka

The Dance
Inspired by: Bob

Bob said, “Life doesn’t go as planned”. He’s a man who values experiences and he is an adventurous man. Bob is a positive soul and a true fighter. It was the way that Bob describes his love of ballroom dancing that spoke to me. For Bob, dance is responsible for curing the aches and pains throughout his cancer treatment. This is where my world intersects with Bob’s. I too am a ballroom dancer and teacher. Every dancer I ask says the same thing, dance is healing. I witnessed its healing abilities first hand last year when I watched my 5-year-old student battle and beat leukemia. Fate has now connected me with Bob, and the choreography of our time together sort of wrote itself.

This painting is a tribute to the importance of relationships. It is a reminder that nothing is possible without the reciprocated efforts of others. In dance, the story is revealed through the push and pull of someone else. For Bob’s journey, it was his team of doctors, caretakers, family, and friends that kept him on tempo. The aged male hand represents Bob and his journey with cancer. The intimacy and freedom of the male and female collarbones represent the duality and vulnerability of support systems. The background balconies, from the famed Blackpool Tower Ballroom, symbolize the variety of perspectives that cancer brings. Whether from a distance or first-hand, cancer gathers an audience at all stages. It is not easy to find an outlet during a difficult time, though for some, it is possible. Bob is one of the fortunate ones.

View Alexandra's presentation of her artwork.


Sophia Nabuhotny

From the Dark, Comes Light
Inspired by: Stephen

Stephen is a son, coworker, brother, and artist. After his 2020 diagnosis, Stephen couldn’t help but to question his fate. He felt like a little boy running away from the monsters. In my piece, these creatures are from “dark art” and they are to reflect the emotions of going through chemotherapy. Goblins, bats, reapers, and skeletons are all part of this new landscape. The skeleton is Stephen’s own artwork and is also the logo of the brewing company he works for. We see the little boy running towards the feminine, glowing figure; a representation of the female figures in Stephens's life. These glowing lights are the ones who gave him the support he needed to be brave. I wanted my piece to feel colorful, mystical, and dreamlike. The purple and blue cooler-toned colors represent the darkness, loneliness, and the creatures chasing him. The cool tones start to rub off on the young boy, almost as if reflecting their isolation. The warm figure provides a large contrast to that coolness, it is warm, bright, and inviting; her hair swims around him providing a clear path from the darkness and beckoning him by reaching out. The metallic and glitter contribute to the dream state of the painting. I wanted it to seem like a memory or nightmare that ends as a good dream in the arms of the feminine figure. Being scared of something as big and life-altering as cancer is very real and is sometimes hard for people who have never experienced it to understand, including myself. Listening to Stephen's story invited me to tell the tale how love, can and will, be the support in every experience of the unknown.

View Alexandra's presentation of her artwork.



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Kirsten Scott

The Peaceful Warrior
Inspired by: Ed

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They are best friends. Not just the kind you see every once in a while to share a meal or update. But those that share every emotion, every smile, every cry, and experience. World Travelers, skiers, and going to movies; they built a beautiful and loving life together full of happiness. They support and lean on one another in all the highs and all the lows. Diagnosed with cancer 5 times she fights with tenacity and holds on for him. Bushuna is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, her name meaning goddess. Like her family fighting a war overseas, she has been fighting her own war for the past 20 years.

Athena is the goddess of war; skilled, beautiful and wielding great power through her femininity. Bushuna is a goddess of her own war, and the love of Ed's life. Every warrior needs to rest, and no war can be won alone. Ed and his love are always nearby, waiting outside Fox Chase on a park bench, for a shoulder to cry on or a lap to rest. Ed is her home, her warmth and peace where she can cast her bruised blue armor aside along with some of the harsh realities of battle. All that’s left (and all that really matters) is their life and love they have built together as best friends. The Greek gods transcend the normal, and everyday Athena speaks mountains for how much Ed and his wife have conquered. I hope that this piece not only captures this love and power but inspires others to keep loving and fighting every day.

View Kirsten's presentation of her artwork.

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Isabelle Peskin

Faithful Perspective
Inspired by: Eleise

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A bright light in this world is the best way I can describe Eleise. Fearless and inspiring, her passion for Fox Chase and serving others, is why I created this work of art. Suns are often seen in religious mosaics in places of worship. In this piece, the sun represents faith. As Elise said, “God is able”, and He was the reason she had no fear during her treatments. Eleise is a bright light. I pursued the idea of a glass mosaic to offer a work that invites the viewer to take part in the light; seeing both through it and being influenced by it. Eleise herself is a passageway of light.

The pink flowers in the foreground represent breast cancer, the cancer that has invaded Eleise’s life. Pink lilies sprinkle the bottom to symbolize femininity, as well as admiration. The coneflowers represent strength and healing. Eleaise is called the Queen Bee by those who know and love her. Here, the Queen Bee represents this courageous woman leading and nurturing with reliability, dependability, and wisdom. All of the little pieces that make up this mosaic are just like the many lives this magnificent woman has touched, including my own. The glass invites the light in and shines out; just as Eleise has taken her experiences and openly shared them out to inspire and teach others.

View Isabelle's presentation of her artwork.

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Mayley Morena

A New Day
Inspired by: Vanessa

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Vanessa is full of light and love. She serves as guardian angel for the people around her. At the center of this image, stands the island head to represent Vanessa as the homeland. Like the Earth beneath us, she supports the people in her life, and especially, those of Fox Chase in both big and small ways. Nature provides us with resources, and in the perfect world, people nourish their land. Like the Earth, Vanessa is generous in her gifts and is always there for those in need. The towns in my painting represent the community of Fox Chase and all the people Vanessa has touched.

Vanessa holds dear the idea of Getting Your Wings in lieu of one’s passing. Despite having lost her mother and her daughter, Vanessa speaks vividly about how in the end, when each of us is ready, we go home. These moments are heavy, and all the while,  Vanessa’s light and love shows as an everyday practice and dedication. It was easy to see that in the face of adversity; she fights for each new day. The outstretched position of the wings represents empowerment and helps to emphasize the idea of a good life after cancer, an idea Vanessa shares with her many villages. The rising sun behind the head and colorful sky add to the idea of a new day and the opportunities to live well. The goal of this piece is to inspire people around Fox Chase to look forward to every new day by continuing to overcome their obstacles, just as Vanessa does.

View Mayley's presentation of her artwork.


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Juliana Whitley

Meadow of Recovery
Inspired by: Karen

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Hairdressers are magicians. With poetic sweeps of a comb, in concert with a curious choreography of scissors, these gifted artists bring out the confidence and dreams of those in their chairs. For years, Karen has served as wizard to countless clients and friends. And now for the first time, she finds herself in the seat of uncertainty dealing with a cancer diagnosis, and in need of a bit of wizardry for herself. Karen's profession means everything to her, and the prospect of leaving it behind during treatment was difficult.

In this work, I hoped to bring to light Karen’s world. Hair serves as the landscape, though it’s the warmth of human nature that gives us a sense of place. The red poppies, cascading throughout represent Karen’s acceptance of her diagnosis and the hope for a peaceful future. Karen's ability to transform those with whom she serves, is represented through the budding greens and bouquets of blossoms across the hills. Flourishing magnolias represent Karen’s perseverance and the echinacea flowers embody her pathway to healing. This is Karen’s field, standing boldly in the lights of what was, what is, and what will be tomorrow.

View Juliana's presentation of her artwork.

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Zlata Semianiuk

Safe Spaces
Inspired by: Savonne

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This is the story of Savonne. A mother and educator, forever surrounded by children. A young woman, now struggling to reconcile the harsh diagnosis she is given. Hers is a story of overcoming for the sake of family. Savonne is both an inspiration and motivator to those around her, though now, she finds herself as the one in need of agency and compassion.

The proverbial family circle serves as the nucleus of both this image, and her story. As both guardians and goals, children become the armour protecting Savonne in her battle. Family is revealed through generations, and Savonne’s is portrayed here through both wisdom and hope. Sturdy and unyielding, the red gives power to her intertwined inner circle. The four figures in focus are connected at their foundation, reinforcing the concept of unity of the family, and implying that they together are there to support each other. Purple is the color of royalty, and this army is swathed in it’s cloak to enforce the dignity and deep ancestral roots with which this war was fought. Warm colors emanating from the inside of this central familial hug convey comfort and security, warmth and fire; illuminating the players in Savonne’s memoir.

View Zlata's presentation of her artwork.


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Cailean Cavanaugh

The Hand You Make
Inspired by:  Judy Owens

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For Judy, cancer treatment is  an act of playing the odds. As long as there is a chance for a successful treatment, she is determined to fight as hard as she can. In the end, her resolve endured through two diagnoses and grim chances.

The hand of cards represents the uncertainty of cancer treatment, and how little can be known with conviction . Upon closer inspection, the hand is not at all random. The cards show the people that supported Judy and the treatment she received. It is because of these players  that make her hand a royal flush. Symbolizing Judy’s successful treatment; and the most valuable players from her eclectic team, Judy sat at the table, and won her hand.

Judy’s experience is unique to her, but just as there are many other hands in poker, so too are there many types of support systems that can help people through difficult times. While uncertainty of cancer treatment is daunting, it can also be a reason for hope. With grit, strength, and the right support, anyone can give themselves the best chance possible in an uncertain future.

View Cailean's presentation of his artwork.

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Mike Sienkiewicz

Inspired by:  Larry Risch

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Who are our heros? Are heros only those found on the pages of our imagination? Or can heros be those soft-spoken figures who, through their struggles and experiences, develop a tenacious optimism, seeing new challenges as opportunities for growth? For if these are the characteristics on which a hero may be born, these are undoubtedly the scaffolding for Larry’s story. 

In the moments just following his final treatments, this  work catches a man, reading a card from his family. This is the other side of the battle. The man’s strong, calm posture is highlighted by the tears flowing from his eyes. Radiating outward from this modest hero is the relief felt after a hard battle has been won. Blanketed in the support of his family, the warm plants represent the loving support and growth from Larry’s most beloved. Always there to nourish, always there to light the way, is it the hero who leads the charge or the unconditional family cheering in the shadows? The words between the man and those we can’t see, speak volumes of the courage pouring out from all and inviting us in to the moment.

View Mike's presentation of his artwork


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Diraya Serrano


Inspired by:  Judy Bernstein

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Survivor of too many diagnoses to count, the tiny woman with the enormous resolve, is an omnipresent force in our cancer center. Judy is the personification of tenacity, compassion, perseverance, empathy, and faith. The allegories inscribed throughout the surface of the vase pay tribute to her ongoing story and reflect her generosity of spirit. A hand on the shoulder of a woman in distress represents Judy’s countless voluntary hours supporting patients as they receive treatment. The lotus flower pays homage to Judy’s personal war with the disease and symbolizes her vitality to bloom big and bright through the waters of her diagnosis had become muddied. Looking forward, the sun rising from behind the clouds speaks to Judy’s unwavering vision of purpose and life beyond the current grey. Judy encourages each of us to cry and let out our emotions, so that we may hear our lives more clearly. Tears of both sorrow and joy frame her journey. This work’s intention is to serve as an invitation to reflect on each of our personal journeys.

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Tyler Yanuzzi

Her Tranquility
Inspired by: Lainie Sykes

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A former patient and caregiver at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Lainie describes the memory of her diagnosis and treatment as a time when she yearned for an escape. Imagery of water surrounded her and the cool enveloped her into a calm--far away from fear and anxiety. This image is created through torn strips of tape. The immediacy of the tears and subtle overlapping pieces, build volume and presence, for both the hand and water. Cold blue water awaits the hand searching for peace, as the tranquility responds and serves as a respite for the weary.