In conjunction with the Wellness Centre’s 10th Anniversary, Earl Pinchuk and Gary Blair, Founders of the Art for Healing Foundation, installed a magnificent art collection at the Centre, showcasing renowned Quebec artists. The project is in memory of Earl’s late mother, Miriam Pinchuk, a generous and loyal donor to Hope & Cope who passed away in August 2016.
The installation took place over a period of several days at the end of June, 2017, and both Earl and Gary are thrilled with the results. “My mother’s spirit lives within the walls of this house,” said Earl. Added Gary, “The Wellness Centre is such a beautiful space, allowing the art to live, to breathe and to be appreciated by so many people with cancer.”
Earl and Gary are avid art collectors who believe passionately in the power of art to positively impact healing. Through their Art for Healing Foundation, a not-for-profit organization they founded in 2002, they transform drab, blank walls commonly found in hospitals and other health care settings into areas of beauty and inspiration.
Like many great ideas, the Art for Healing Foundation was born of a combination of personal experience, a little bit of luck and a whole lot of perseverance. In 2001, Earl took a sabbatical from the family business to follow his passion and explore the possibility of opening an art gallery. At the same time, both he and Gary were visiting a close friend of theirs – a visual artist – who was gravely ill at the Royal Victoria Hospital. As saddened as they were by their friend’s passing, what upset them even more was that he had spent the last few days of his life immobile in a hospital room, staring at a blank wall.
“That was the ‘light-bulb’ moment for me,” explained Earl. “I realized that Montreal didn’t need yet another art gallery. What it needed was a foundation that would bring unsold and unused art into the health care setting.” His upcoming 40th birthday bash proved to be the ideal occasion to launch their idea and $8,000 was raised that evening alone. The funds were put aside while Earl & Gary worked out the complicated logistics of how to create a financially viable and sustainable foundation.
Their first commission – to install three prints in the newly renovated Hematology Unit at the Montreal Children’s Hospital – was a resounding success and through word of mouth in the art world and favourable media coverage, their organization grew steadily. In fact, as Earl proudly noted, since its inception, the Art for Healing Foundation has installed over 10,500 works of art in 76 institutions in Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Paris, France.
Art has always been an important part of Hope & Cope’s Cancer Wellness Centre. “We’ve been blessed from the beginning,” notes Marcelle Kecman, the Centre’s manager. “When the Centre opened 10 years ago, we received beautiful art work generously donated by Montreal-based artists and the Board of Directors of the former Gilda’s Club.”
The new collection was unveiled officially at a vernissage on September 14th, 2017 attended by donors, members of the Boards of the Art for Healing Foundation and Hope & Cope, as well as friends and family of the late Miriam Pinchuk. Artists in attendance included Rita Briansky, Mel Boyaner, Nycol Beaulieu, Burt Covit, Jackie Cytrynbaum, Marilyn Gelfand, Michel Piquette, Bernard Rajotte, and Sue Rusk, who is also a volunteer yoga instructor at the Wellness Centre.
Ultimately, Earl & Gary are motivated by their belief that everyone deserves to be nurtured by their environment. “It’s so gratifying to share our passion for art and to bring beauty and joy into people’s lives when they need it most,” they concluded.
Feature photo, left to right: Dawna Lazare, Kathy Osgood, Earl Pinchuk, Founder – The Art for Healing Foundation, Margaret Trudeau, Honorary Chairperson – The Art for Healing Foundation, Gary Blair, Founder – The Art for Healing Foundation, Sheila Segal and Marlene Levine.
Second photo: Artist Nycol Beaulieu poses in front of her painting, located in the garden gallery on the main floor of the Wellness Centre.
To see more pictures of this stunning art collection, please visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hopecopemontreal/