High School Artwork

Talented artists bring art’s healing energy to City of Hope Orange County

A new 121-piece collection of art was recently unveiled at City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center as part of the rotating art exhibits there.

 For the first time, the displayed art includes pieces by local high school students who were invited to share their work. The art is for all to enjoy and be inspired by as they pass through the halls. Art is a central element of the cancer center’s healing design, creating a calming and peaceful environment that feels more like home than hospital.

“You are the creators of hope,” said Annette Walker, president, City of Hope Orange County, to the artists gathered for the unveiling ceremony. “It is your work that our patients see when they enter — art that calls to mind home, inspiration, and hope. I hope that as you move through the building you feel the impact and power of your contributions on our patients, families, and staff.”
Walker acknowledged and thanked both the community artists and the student artists, who attend Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Margarita Catholic High School and TVT Community Day School. Walker also thanked Sepi Varon, who serves on City of Hope Orange County’s President’s Advisory Council, for her vision to bring a high school art invitational to the cancer center.

The art gallery is carefully curated by artist and art educator Nancy Harrell, who said it is deeply meaningful to the artists that their work has been chosen for this unique setting. Twice a year, Harrell searches through hundreds of artists to find those who best represent the message and the experience City of Hope Orange County wants for patients and their families. The selected works are displayed for the next six months.

A grateful patient’s perspective

Lung cancer survivor Michelle Vacca shared her personal experience with cancer — and with the healing art at the cancer center.

Grateful Patient Michelle Vaca
             Grateful Patient, Michelle Vaca

Vacca was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in 2017; she has never smoked and has no history of lung cancer in her family. After several years, her treatments stopped working, and she found herself in urgent need of new options.

She found medical oncologist and hematologist Danny Nguyen, M.D., who specializes in lung cancer research and treatment. Dr. Nguyen told Vacca about a clinical trial that she was a good candidate for, and participating in that trial under Dr. Nguyen’s care has made all the difference, Vacca said.

“For the first time ever, I wasn’t just stable, I had reduction,” said Vacca. “And not just reduction — significant reduction!”

Vacca visits the cancer center every few months for scans and tests. Instead of getting caught up in her anxiety about the scans and their results, she enjoys the art that lines the halls.

“Viewing the art allows me to focus on something beautiful that has nothing to do with stress or scans or cancer,” Vacca said. “Whether it’s the subject matter, or maybe the colors, or something as simple as a texture — it has the power to pull me out of a negative space in my head and into a happy place of healing.”

Vacca said she looks forward to experiencing the artists’ creations at her future visits. “Thank you, artists, for sharing your talents with us; and thank you, City of Hope, for taking patients’ hands and never letting go.”

Watch: Helping write the “survival guide” for others: Meet lung cancer survivor Michelle Vacca

The art exhibits are a continuation of City of Hope’s whole-person approach to comprehensive cancer care, a commitment to caring for the whole person — mind, body and spirit. Every feature of City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center – the most advanced comprehensive cancer center in Orange County — was designed for and with the community and carefully chosen to promote healing and comfort.

First in research. First in treatment. First in survival. Hope First. To make an appointment at any of City of Hope’s Orange County locations, call 888-333-HOPE (4673).

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Header Image: Emma Kozak | Landscape
Image #1: Samantha Losey | Unconventional Sailboat 
Image #2: Danielle Gorrell | Beautiful Just the Way You Are
Image #3: Alex Sulzbach | Casa Della Toscana
Image #4: Fernando Micheli | Scintillating Sky
Image #5: Mark Austin | Brazos Park
Image #6: Susan Rapske | Avalon View