In January, Mass General staff had the opportunity to take part in three virtual celebrations to honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and illuminate his goals of racial equity and justice.
The MGH’s Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center – on the second floor of the Wang Building – installed its inaugural Pink Power Pop-Up Art Exhibition Oct. 8 in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The display features the work of Boston-based artist Liz Roache, a breast cancer survivor who was treated at the hospital, who understands the importance of a welcoming waiting room.
“We are thrilled to have Liz’s work on display for our inaugural pop-up exhibition,” says Helen Anne D’Alessandro, MD, staff radiologist and curator of the Avon Breast Center Art Collection. “Liz’s sense of color and design are incredibly bright, uplifting and cheerful and will help us in our mission to create a more healing and caring environment for our patients and staff.”
Established in 2002, the Avon Breast Center Art Collection typically showcases art purchased from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University during its annual fundraiser. “We always wanted to host a solo exhibit featuring a local artist, and since pop-up exhibits have become an emerging trend in the art world – as well as in Boston – it made sense for us to try this format,” says D’Alessandro. “I discovered Liz’s work by chance while visiting the Boston Design Center and was drawn to her beautiful prints and fantastic use of color.”
Roache was a student and colleague of Ati Gropius Johansen, the daughter of Walter Gropius who founded the Bauhaus movement, an influential modernist art school and design movement in the early 20th century.
Her exhibit features five pieces, including a large flower collage entitled “Joy,” and “Beautiful Couples,” a series of paired colors which complement each other.
“The aim was to celebrate the beautiful power of pink in a very joyful way,” says Roache. “I chose the pieces to help lighten the air as well as the experience of waiting in a hospital’s waiting room – kind of like hopeful windows of optimism. I structured this so each work plays off ‘Joy.’ ’Beautiful Couples’ was chosen not just for its uplifting color combination, but because I know there are a lot of couples that come to the waiting room together. Additionally, I custom-created the three-color studies nearby to fit right with the others in color and spirit.”
D’Alessandro says she has already received a fantastic reaction from patients, families and staff. “As breast imagers, the visuals we interpret daily are black, white and shades of gray, so the burst of color on our walls is a welcome diversion.”
Roache says she will donate 25 percent of the proceeds from each piece sold to the center.“I am completely honored to have my work on display at the very place I was treated for breast cancer and still continue to come to for care,” she says. “If I can give a patient even one moment’s break in what can be a serious and confusing time, then that would be my whole point of having my artwork there. My experience being treated at MGH was one of real hope.”
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