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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

2021

Juliana Whitley

Meadow of Recovery
Inspired by: Karen

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.

Zlata Semianiuk

Safe Spaces
Inspired by: Savonne

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.

2020

Cailean Cavanaugh

The Hand You Make
Inspired by:  Judy Owens

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.

Mike Sienkiewicz

Lifted
Inspired by:  Larry Risch

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

2019

Diraya Serrano

Providence

Inspired by:  Judy Bernstein

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.

Tyler Yanuzzi

Her Tranquility
Inspired by: Lainie Sykes

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.

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