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Selected Artwork:

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Featured Stories

“The Power of Resilience” 


Author: Scott Stoner, Artist in Residence, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Inova Schar Cancer Institute

I worked with L as an artist in residence for well over a year after she arrived at Inova Schar Cancer Institute to begin yet another in a long series of treatment programs - having been diagnosed with stage IV cancer five years earlier. It was especially gratifying for me to build a relationship with a fellow artist whose creative inspiration and self-proclaimed “warrior” spirit were, as she proudly expressed, her greatest assets. 


L was most often accompanied for treatment sessions by her sister, K (and occasionally by her father and other siblings). K shared her sister’s love for creative expression and she often also drew and painted her own work. Together, they approached the years-long life with cancer experience as an adventure, including dressing up as favorite film and television characters for some chemo sessions (hilariously captured and shared on L’s smartphone). 


L’s art was always bold and engaging in whatever medium she chose to work. Soon after we began our sessions together, she created a collage around one word - "Resilience" - which I thought was an astonishing piece when finished. At the next session, she presented me the collage, framed and signed, as a gift. 

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In conjunction with the development of an art installation for Inova Schar, based upon the theme of HOPE, I painted a portrait of L. It is based upon one of many images she shared on Facebook that captured her journey with cancer – this taken following a hospital stay. I added “Resilience” to her hospital gown not just because of the collage she created, but because her human spirit so embodies the meaning of the word.  

Also for the HOPE project, L’s sister K painted a piece that reflected the many vacations and trips they shared together, including a sunset dance on the beach.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have met L and her family through the artist in residence program. I will carry with me, always, L’s extraordinary level of courage, passion, hope, wit, and buoyancy -  a gift she so willingly shared for all who had the honor and privilege of knowing her.  

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