1 of 4
Kevin Orlosky of Art on Wheels demonstrates the clothing imprint process. (Photo by Brooke Marsh)
2 of 4
In the Impressions of Courage project, cancer fighters' clothing, or clothing that represents those being honored, is used to make a print. (Photo by Brooke Marsh)
3 of 4
Some of the clothing items contributed for the project. (Photo by Brooke Marsh)
4 of 4
Denise Kranich, executive director of LINC (from left) with Megan Nolde, Studio Two Three's program director and Kevin and Andrea Orlosky at the Impressions of Courage announcement. (Photo by Brooke Marsh)
Cancer leaves its mark across all communities. We support the fighters, we love them and sometimes we become them. The Richmond nonprofit Art on Wheels has found a creative way to honor those touched by cancer and transform its stamp into a powerful print.
Known for its Veterans Impact Project and Find Art Doors, Art on Wheels brings art programming to communities with limited access to the arts. Now, the organization is launching its biggest (think Guinness Book of World Records) project yet. Teaming with Studio Two Three, a self-proclaimed “gym membership for artists,” the organization is asking the community to help create a 1,000-foot collagraph, a print made from objects, honoring Richmonders who have fought or are currently fighting cancer.
“We wanted something participatory. A community collagraph felt really inclusive, instead of some art process that can be really intimidating,” says Andrea Orlosky, co-founder and executive director of Arts on Wheels.
Impressions of Courage will imprint clothing and mark the names of cancer fighters underneath their outfit representations. The clothes will be glued to boards to create a collagraph plate. They’ll be laid out on the ground, inked and printed using a steamroller.
“Clothes are so personal, and so much a part of how we identify ourselves and say, 'This is who I am,' ” says Orlosky. Through this project, she hopes viewers of the collagraph will feel the essence of the person behind the print.
The Art on Wheels team has its own connection to cancer that helped inspire this project.
Orlosky’s husband, Kevin, the organization’s co-founder and director of programs, has been directly affected by cancer twice. His sister Jessica died of leukemia 16 years ago, and his family never thought they would recover. Just 12 years later, his stepmother died from liver cancer.
With participants' help, cancer’s effect on the community will become a community art project. Starting on April 1, Studio Two Three will be open for clothing donations. Registration for an outfit costs $25 and will benefit LINC (the Legal Information Network for Cancer), which offers financial and legal services for people and families who are facing a cancer diagnosis.
The outfit will not be returned and does not have to be the actual clothes of a cancer fighter, just something that represents them. The clothing representation can be of someone currently fighting cancer or someone who has passed away.
On April 17, May 15 and June 12, community platemaking days will be open to volunteers to start creating the plate necessary for the clothing prints. Demos of the process will be shown, and no artistic background is required.
June 26 is the deadline to register for the Sept. 10 printing event, in which the clothes will create the collagraph. This event will offer a variety of music, and food and drink vendors, while participants watch artists make the 170 to 300 donated outfits come to life through art. Here's a presentation put together by the organizers: