GM Employees Honor Cancer Survivors and Caregivers in New Art Exhibit

The auto company has teamed up with the nonprofit Twist Out Cancer for a virtual showcase
Virtual Brushes With Cancer Program in 2020
Photograph courtesy of Twist Out Cancer

Twist Out Cancer, a nonprofit that uses creative arts as a method of healing, is working with General Motors Co. employees for its upcoming Brushes With Cancer exhibit, which will feature 25 pieces of artwork inspired by individuals’ experiences with cancer. The exhibit will be on display at the GM Design Center in Warren, and online viewing will be available on Sept. 25.

The exhibit pairs artists, who are employees at the GM Design Center, with “Inspirations” — survivors, caregivers, supports, and others affected by cancer who are also GM employees. Over a four to six-month period, the artists created artwork that represent each Inspiration’s experience with cancer, conveying their stories, feelings, and observations. The result is pieces of art in many different mediums, including graphic arts, sculptures, ceramics, fabrics, and stained glass.

The show will kick off with a live, virtual event at 7 p.m. on Sept. 25. Registration for the event, which is available via the Twist Out Cancer website, includes access to the exhibition, auction, program, and live entertainment. The event will feature speakers such as Jenna Benn Shersher, founder and CEO of Twist Out Cancer, and Jeffrey Froggett, a senior graphic designer and gallery curator at the GM Design Center.

twist out cancer brushes with cancer
Last year, Twist Out Cancer held its Brushes With Cancer showcase at Detroit Shipping Co. This year, the nonprofit’s will show work virtually. // Photograph courtesy of Twist Out Cancer

The Design Center created the virtual event because of the restrictions of in-person gatherings during the pandemic, but Froggett — an Inspiration and featured artist who honored his late wife, Julie, with his work — says that the digital format has created an exciting opportunity for the exhibit to reach more people and touch more lives.

“Because of the pandemic and everyone is now living under restrictions and is fearful and has anxiety about the future and the uncertainty of everything, I think in some ways it has brought the matches closer together,” adds Benn Shersher. “In many ways, this program became like a lifeline for people. I think knowing that you have a friend that’s there for you, that’s on the other end of the line that you’re checking in with regularly has been a really meaningful experience for the participants.”

Following the event, Froggett and his team will provide guided tours of the exhibition to GM employees by appointment. The artwork will be on display at the GM Design Center until Oct. 30, and it will be auctioned online. Proceed will benefit Brushes With Cancer.

Twist Out Cancer’s Brushes With Cancer program has taken place in seven cities over the past eight years. The upcoming exhibit at GM is the first time the program has collaborated with employees of one company.

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