Over 200 decorated birdhouses will be on display at the Figge Art Museum, Davenport, from Oct. 2 to 11, along with the Living Proof art exhibit.

Pamela Crouch

“They are up a short time because we want to get them out to bring hope and joy to Quad Citizens touched by cancer,” Pamela Crouch, executive director of Living Proof Exhibit (LPE), said Thursday.

A wide variety of people, ages 2 to 82, participated in the “Make Hope Soar” project, including in and around the Quad-Cities, plus from Kentucky, Texas, and California, she said.

LPE provides free programs that celebrate the therapeutic benefits of the arts for cancer patients, survivors, family members and caregivers. The Moline-based nonprofit is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, and recently opened a new exhibit of art by cancer survivors at the Figge (225 W. 2nd St.).

“ ‘Make Hope Soar: The Birdhouse Project’ was originally planned to help celebrate our 10th anniversary,” Crouch said in August. “Making little birdhouses, painting them and giving them away to newly diagnosed cancer patients was one of the first programs Living Proof Exhibit did, and we wanted to bring it back. As it turns out, it’s a good thing that we did.”

“On the bottom of each birdhouse, we’re asking people to include a little note of hope or something inspirational and these birdhouses will be distributed not only to cancer patients and survivors, but also perhaps to a caregiver or a family member,” she said.

“Because of the pandemic, scout groups that couldn’t work together are creating birdhouses; churches that can’t meet are creating birdhouses.”

“They’re each creating something that’s going to bring joy to someone who’s going through a really tough time,” Crouch said. “Right now, the stress from the pandemic is off the charts for people who have been touched by cancer.”

“People aren’t getting out; they need to keep their hands busy,” she said. “The Birdhouse Project has changed because of the pandemic, but it was perfect because of the pandemic.”

Living Proof Exhibit: A Visualization of Hope will be displayed in the museum’s second-floor Mary Waterman Gildehaus Community Gallery (through Dec. 6) and includes works in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography, cold wax, watercolor, ceramic, assemblage, acrylic and oil paintings.

They were created by 24 cancer survivors within a 200-mile radius of the Quad-Cities area.

“This year, people impacted by cancer have had to cope with the additional stress of the pandemic,” Crouch said. “We have continued to provide ways to help people reduce this stress through the arts and this exhibition shows the inner strength of our cancer survivor artists and the hope that exists for them beyond cancer.”

​ “As Living Proof Exhibit celebrates 10 years of existence, the Figge is proud once again to host this exhibition that continually brings with it feelings of healing, happiness and hope to so many in our community,” said Melissa Mohr, the museum’s director of education.

“Now more than ever, Living Proof Exhibit’s message is crucial for us to remember — that even during dark and uncertain times, we can look to the therapeutic and healing potential of art to help us through,” she said.

The exhibit is sponsored by Royal Neighbors of America and The Iowa Cancer Consortium. For more information, visit www.livingproofexhibit.org.

Here are a few more images of the artworks on display:

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.