Pamela's ArtPrize 2011 Series

ArtPrize 2011Braving the Wind

Braving the Wind honors The Cancer Center at Metro Health
Displayed at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel • Grand Rapids

Braving the Wind - Watercolor on paper

Braving the Wind

Rising on the Wind - Watercolor on paper

Rising on the Wind

Gulls on the Shore - Watercolor on paper

Gulls on the Shore

Braving the Wind: The Inspiration

Braving the Wind depicted Kara's story of perseverance and compassion. Kara, a young woman who had been battling cancer for several years, fought hard to survive. To portray her courageous story, I combined Kara's paintings with an interactive metal Healing Tree. Over twenty-thousand visitors participated by hanging caring notes for loved ones who also battled cancer. As individuals and families engaged with the artwork, they experienced transformation and activated the healing process.


Healing Tree filled with Hope Cards

Nearly 20,000 Hope Cards were added to the Healing Tree to honor loved ones with cancer

Mother with children adding Hope Card to Healing Tree Dad with his son filling out Hope Card
Close-up of Healing Tree full of Hope Cards

Visitors Interact

A Young Teen

While a young teen was hanging a Hope Card to express her love for a friend battling cancer, her mom came up and whispered, “Sweetheart, Debi died.”

The young girl burst into tears and ran into her dad's arms.

“Thank you,” her mom told me, “for providing a healing space to tell our daughter what happened to her friend. We didn't know how to tell her.”

The family quietly embraced until the teen's tears had diminished. When the initial wave of grief had passed, both parents turned and waved a solemn “Thank you.”

A Middle-Aged Man

A strongly built man held up his bracelet that said, “Cure 4 Carriers.” Then he told me, “My buddies and I rented a bus and took our friend with stage 4 cancer on a guy's day trip.”

Restraining deep emotions, he relayed his last words to his friend as they were getting off the bus, “Same time, same place next year.”

An Elderly Woman

“My hands are shaking so much,” an elderly woman confessed. “I can hardly hang this card on the tree.”

I asked, “Whose name did you write on the card?”

“My son's.”

Pamela has been an ArtPrize artist since 2009

Since 2009, ArtPrize, the world's largest open art competition, draws more than 500,000 visitors to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Veteran ArtPrize artist Pamela Alderman has become known for creating a new kind of artist/viewer work that invites audience collaboration. The work invites individuals into the healing process through participatory art. As visitors engage in the art making, small steps toward healing result. Over ten years of ArtPrize, Alderman's interactive installations, including The Scarlet Cord and Hometown Hero, have touched thousands—one person at a time. This healing art involves you—because you matter!

Braving the Wind works donated to Hope Lodge of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Harbor Hospice of Muskegon, Michigan; Hope Village of Traverse City, Michigan; and StarLite Shores Family Camp of West Olive, Michigan