Niles students use art to fight cancer

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Jena Garrett stands next to the artwork she created for New Tech's cancer awareness art show at the Niles District Library.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
Jena Garrett stands next to the artwork she created for New Tech’s cancer awareness art show at the Niles District Library.

The best artwork is often inspired by strong emotions and there is nothing quite as emotional as learning that you or a loved one has cancer.

A Niles New Tech class set out to combine art with the raw emotion associated with cancer in order to promote learning and spread awareness about the disease.

Learners in Courtney Dwyer’s freshmen BioArt class were tasked with interviewing a cancer patient, survivor or the loved one of someone who is battling cancer or has passed away from the disease.

After learning about the person’s story, students created a mural design that reflects the emotions of the person throughout the journey.

Learners were also introduced to the different art movements and each of their works of art were created in the style of one of the movements.

Freshman Jena Garrett interviewed her aunt, whose mother-in-law passed away from lung cancer more than 10 years ago.

Garrett said talking with her aunt and uncle about such an emotional topic was a difficult, but gratifying experience.

“There were emotions going the whole time — it was very hard for my uncle,” she said. “I am really glad I did it. I felt honored to do something about such an emotional subject.”

Garrett’s artwork is on display through Saturday at the Niles District Library along with works from approximately 130 other classmates.

The art is available for purchase through a silent auction and all funds raised will be donated to the Brian Parker Memorial Foundation, a non-profit supporting cancer research that was created in the memory of Brian Parker, a Niles boy who passed away from cancer at the age of 14.

Dwyer said the same art project raised approximately $300 last year.

“I am really happy we can support a local foundation that can help with this horrible disease that affects our country,” Dwyer said.

At the end of the art show, the highest bidder for each piece will be contacted. Dwyer said the art would be framed and given to the winning bidders.

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