The Story: The Red & Orange House: 4 Years of art-making at WCRC in Oakland entirely funded by The Lloyd Symington Foundation

The Story: The Red & Orange House: 4 Years of art-making at WCRC in Oakland entirely funded by The Lloyd Symington Foundation

As I write this blogpost, I am bittersweetly aware this is most likely my  final blogpost describing my experiences of making art with members of WCRC.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect upon the life changing events the grant money from  Llyod Symington Foundation ( LSF) has granted me professionally and personally.

Four years ago, The Red & Orange House (ROH) was basically an unknown non-profit organization. No public Bodyscapes Healing Arts Workshops had ever been conducted. No Bodyscapes art catalogs had ever been produced. No Bodyscapes Drawing What Ails Us art exhibitions installed nor any opening night receptions hosted. ROH had only conducted 35 free workshops to my friends and family. Workshops conducted on the dining room table in  my apartment. Continue reading

Bodyscapes: Drawing What Ails Us: 4 year Retrospective Art Album at JanRae Gallery in WCRC until Nov 15th

Bodyscapes: Drawing What Ails Us: 4 year Retrospective Art Album at JanRae Gallery in WCRC until Nov 15th

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Most times, the installation of an exhibit is just a routine part of my job. This year, installing the whole collection of WCRC/Bodyscapes artwork showed me first hand the intense transformative power when that much art hangs on the walls inside an institution. It changed the space into a daily community engagement event place. Continue reading

New Friends from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Tribute Celebration September 8th, 2018

SFAF:DES+Guys

Enjoying the evening, with Jim Williams and Joey De Larosa Jr. (right) at the SFAF Tribute Celebration. Entering its fifth decade of service to the community, the SFAF oversees many programs for people with HIV/AIDS, including the Elizabeth Taylor 50 Plus Network. I am very revved up, honored and proud to engage and work with members of that group to create Bodyscapes poems and drawing for individual and community healing.

I had the pleasure of attending the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s Tribute Celebration on Saturday, September 8, at Pier 27.  I went because it supports the new project I am working on this autumn — Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshops with members of the SFAF’s Elizabeth Taylor Fifty Plus Network. My ticket was a last-minute surprise – for fun, my style master friend, Danny Medina, from CODE Salon hearing where I was going that night shaped my hair into a “Mile-High Style”!

I went alone, not knowing anybody at this glam event.  But I soon made new friends who I talked with about my Bodyscapes Workshops and I was welcomed to sit at a table with Jim and Joey–beautiful people with huge hearts that love and care for their community. Both Jim and I, kindred spirits in many ways, were the first ones out on the dance floor!

SFAF:Gala?DES+:Michael Kinsley

Delighting in the party atmosphere with SFAF board member Michael Kinsley, who I met through new friends, Jim and Joey, on that memorable night. Michael was so receptive to learn about my new Bodyscapes project for SFAF Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network members. He can’t wait to attend our art exhibition later this year.

This glamorous gala honored Billy Porter (Tony-Award-winning actor for Kinky Boots, and star of the FX show POSE).  Billy was presented with the Cleve Jones Award, and his acceptance speech included this quote, which encapsulates so much:  “The more we speak truth to power, the more we tell our stories, the better the world becomes.  We’re not going back.  I’m done being scared.  We survived the AIDS crisis so fuck Trump.” The audience cheered!

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Here I am with the fabulous, Billy Porter, who was honored for his AIDS activism with The Cleve Jones Award.

Below, see Billy strutting his stuff!

Local luminaries at this gala included Mayor London Breed, gay state Senator Scott Wiener, and Cleve Jones, AIDS and LGBT rights activist who conceived the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt

This SFAF Tribute Celebration raised almost $480,000.  I was so pleased to be able to attend this event, and to know that I would be working with men in the Elizabeth Taylor Fifty Plus Network.  We’ll be making art for another exhibit and reception later this year – and we will aim to have a little glamour of our own!

Age, Survive, and Thrive! Art Exhibition Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Age, Survive and Thrive!

The AGE, SURVIVE and THRIVE art exhibition at the Art Saves Lives Gallery on Castro Street was a highly colorful and celebratory event.  Bodyscapes artists from the San Francisco group Honoring Our Experience (long-term survivors of AIDS/HIV) created poetry and 29 drawings reflecting their experience of living Poz.  The art was much admired by over 60 attendees including friends and family.  It was a joyously moving event, the largest reception thus far for art created in Bodyscapes workshops.

We hope for many more events of this magnitude!

3rd Summer in a Row-Bodyscapes at WCRC in Oakland- July 2017 Workshops-Funded by The Lloyd Symington Foundation

Christine Cahill, Nava Mizrahhi, Maria Lentzou, Demetrice Thompson, Diane Sciaretta, Stephanie , Margo Salem

(L to R) The six participants felt that they had a fruitful Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshop at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center in Oakland, CA

In July, I conducted workshop number 6 at WCRC.  This is the third year in succession for our enlightening Bodyscapes processes and we have grown from strength to strength. All participants were first-timers to Bodyscapes.  This year, I reached out to the Sister to Sister Group and a Latinx Lunchtime Support Group, making a small presentation to both groups to encourage them to come to my workshop.  This produced three participants!

 A first time experience was the presence of a Spanish-speaking translator and two interns which added a welcome element of help.  Also it provided some peer camaraderie for me — the interns were recent graduates in Expressive Art Therapy.

Angela Castillo, Spanish Translator, Stephanie Walpole, Intern and Maria Lentzou, Intern

(L to R) Spanish translator, Angela Castillo, with interns Stephanie Walpole and Maria Latzou, enjoy observing, assisting and taking part in the Bodyscapes workshop conducted in July. The interns just earned their Masters’ Degrees in Expressive Art Therapy. I found these young women through an ad I placed in the California Institute of Integral Studies, and I was very pleased with their response.

 This year,  Penni Hudis, the Interim Executive Director of WCRC ,attended a Bodyscapes session.  I  met Penni a year ago, and she has been incredibly supportive. This was the first time she had taken part in my workshop — in fact, she had never taken an art class before! I coached her, and she was delighted with her resulting drawing. So this was a first time for both.

Penni Hudis, Interim Director, WCRC

Penni Hudis, Interim Executive Director of WCRC, experiences first-hand Diane’s Bodyscapes, for the first time — and found it a powerful and positive experience. Penni had never drawn before, and was astonished at the resulting artwork she produced!

WCRC & Bodyscapes July 2017

Margo Salem

Margo Salem chooses vibrant red pastel to begin her drawing. She is drawn to making strong statements, also evident in her poetry.

Something else new was the Innvocation — we formed a circle holding hands in a way to bring the participants closer, a transition time, to put aside the outside world and evoke the creative muse.  The Innvocation is a way to honor the artists’ bodies living with cancer, and to create community with WCRC members past and present who have come to that building for 40 years to share their experiences of living with cancer.

Christine Cahill

Christine Cahill, living with the effects of radiation treatment, applies pastel to create a soft watercolor effect in the background of her drawing.

 The Innvocation importantly voices the concern of participants who come to Bodyscapes with apprehension about their abilities to make art. The Invocation assures us that the muse will lead us mindfully, and with joy.

Margo Rivera Weiss

Margo Rivera-Weiss, a professional artist herself, participates in Diane’s Bodyscapes for the first time. Margo is a mainstay employee at WCRC, and it was an honor to work with her.