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Living Proof Starts New Creative Sessions, Hires Program Manager

Living Proof Exhibit – which provides hope, support, and healing through the arts to Quad Citizens touched by cancer – is growing with new programs and a new program manager.

Living Proof Starts New Creative Sessions, Hires Program Manager

Pamela Crouch is executive director of Living Proof Exhibit.

Each month, LPE offers free Creative Sessions where participants use various art forms to heal and find hope. Everyone impacted by cancer is invited to these free sessions, including those undergoing cancer treatment, family members, friends, and caregivers. You can register online at livingproofexhibit.org.

Due to Covid-19, sessions will be virtual or outdoors with limited capacity. Each session will be available live via Zoom or as a recording on the LPE YouTube channel.

The next Creative Session is watercolor painting with Emily Christenson on Tuesday, March 9, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This session is virtual only, through Zoom. This creative session is being held in celebration of the Figge Art Museum’s exhibition “For America: 200 Years of Painting from the National Academy of Design,” which runs through May 16, 2021.

Originally from the Quad-Cities, Christenson now lives in Minnesota, and her March 9 session will focus on watercolors and landscape, LPE executive director Pamela Crouch said Monday.

“We just want to celebrate the Figge and what they’re doing. It’s kind of lovely we  have an artist from outside

Living Proof Starts New Creative Sessions, Hires Program Manager

Examples of painted birdhouses made at Methodist Senior Services in Chicago.

the Quad-Cities,” she said. “If we hadn’t been virtual we wouldn’t have been able to do that.
Once you register online, you will receive instructions for contactless pickup of supplies for the class.

LPE will be hosting three short virtual pop-up creative sessions on March 18, 25, and April 1 at 7 p.m. Instructor Gina Kirschbaum will be teaching participants to use paper-mache to make a bird. These small sessions will be held virtually.

Living Proof Exhibit can also help you send a free art-to-go box to someone touched by cancer. Each box contains watercolor pencils, a brush and artwork to paint. Please visit www.livingproofexhibit.org/art-to-go-boxes to fill out the online form.

Living Proof Starts New Creative Sessions, Hires Program Manager

Examples of birdhouses donated to Gilda’s Club Quad-Cities for their new location at UnityPoint Health-Trinity in Moline.

LPE’s 2021 Creative Sessions are virtual and will be hybrid when it’s warmer and we can be outdoors (socially distanced, of course). “Because our current sessions are virtual, we can bring in artists from around the country,” Crouch said.

“Our February session was led by an artist in St. Louis, while our March session will be led by an artist in Minnesota. We never would have been able to include this outreach were it not for the pandemic,” she said. “Talk about a silver lining!”
LPE’s 2020 Make Hope Soar: The Birdhouse Project continues to grow, while it was first meant

Living Proof Starts New Creative Sessions, Hires Program Manager

Examples of LPE painted birdhouses made in the Quad-Cities.

to be a community celebration of the nonprofit’s 10th anniversary.

“Instead, these little birdhouses enabled church groups and Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops to work together on a project even when they had to be separated. Families out of state connected to decorate little birdhouses,” Crouch said, noting they got birdhouses from as far away as Kentucky, Texas and California.

These birdhouses were distributed to local cancer centers and provided tangible bits of joy and hope for people touched by cancer.
Crouch attended a national Livestrong conference via Zoom in 2020, where she met John Gould, director of dining and life enrichment for Methodist Senior Services in Chicago. “John loved our birdhouse project, and a new partnership was formed,” she said.

“His group is making hope soar in Chicago and will be distributing their birdhouses to cancer centers throughout the city in 2021,” Crouch

Living Proof Starts New Creative Sessions, Hires Program Manager

An inspirational quote on new LPE bookmarks, with art by Tara Moorman, a Cedar Rapids cancer survivor.

said. MSS residents and staff have completed over 100 of their own birdhouses, which are accompanied by messages of hope.

“Like exactly what happened here, we’ve had lot of interest in people wanting to make them,” Crouch said. “It’s nice to be able to do something that’s going to make a difference to someone else.”

LPE also loaned five birdhouses for the Putnam’s new “Birds and You” exhibit, which opened last month, at 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport.

Birds and You examines the role we all can play in protecting and preserving the birds we see every day in our backyards and fields. Visitors can expect to see a variety of taxidermy mounts, eggs, and nests from the Putnam’s collection while learning about the issues facing birds today and the simple things they can do to help.

The exhibit includes a variety of birdhouses loaned by community members and features activities including identifying birds by their silhouettes and creating your own origami passenger pigeon.

New program manager starts

Jordan Kirkbride, 28, joined Living Proof Exhibit in January as its new program manager, the first employee besides Crouch.

“We always planned to have someone take over program management, as we grew,” Crouch said Monday. “Last year, with our programming

Living Proof Starts New Creative Sessions, Hires Program Manager

Jordan Kirkbride (shown with her husband Alex) is the new program manager for LPE.

being virtual and somewhat hybrid, we needed to get someone on board who can manage it. She is doing a fabulous job.”

Kirkbride — a 2014 Augustana College art history graduate – was recommended for the part-time job by Dawn Wohlford-Metallo, visual arts director at Quad City Arts. Kirkbride also works part-time in their Rock Island gallery space.

“Living Proof Exhibit’s mission is what attracted me to this position and organization,” she said recently. “After being a stay-at-home mom for five years, I felt that whatever position I applied to needed to be a job that would make a difference in our community.

“So far, my favorite part of working in this position is seeing our work help people in their daily lives,” Kirkbride said. “During our first creative session of the year, one of the participants said ‘I really needed this.’ Hearing that reaffirmed that we’re helping people and fulfilling our mission.”

In the LPE job, she schedules and coordinates creative sessions, manages the LPE art exhibition (this year’s is in Dubuque), and Kirkbride is helping to increase outreach to cancer-impacted people in the community. The exhibit of art by cancer survivors within a 200-mile radius of the Q-C will open Aug. 16 in Dubuque.

“I really enjoy knowing that the work I’m doing can help someone, even if it’s just for the two hours we spend in the creative sessions,” she said. “Art has a place in the healing process and I’m thankful that I can help facilitate that.

Kirkbride and her husband, Alex Stockwell, live in Rock Island, and have a 5-year-old daughter, Charlotte.

Living Proof Starts New Creative Sessions, Hires Program Manager

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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.
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