The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 35th Annual ArtBLINK Gala raised $767,000 for the Cancer Center’s Fund for Excellence. The annual gala is the culmination of its advisory board’s yearly fundraising campaign and has served as one of the city’s premier social events for more than 30 years.

Story by Curran Umphrey •

Photos by Mike Strawn  

Local artist Lynthia Edwards puts the finishing touches on her live art piece as the 90-minute painting portion of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center’s annual ArtBLINK Gala comes to a close on Feb. 1 at The Kirklin Clinic.

The Advisory Board of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB hosted its 35th annual ArtBLINK Gala on Feb. 1 in The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital. With more than 1,000 guests in attendance, this year’s gala raised $767,000 for the O’Neal Cancer Center’s Fund for Excellence, which supports high-priority research efforts, as well as clinical and community outreach efforts, and new faculty recruitment.

The most spectacular feature of the gala was the group of 17 local artists who created original works of art live on stage in only 90 minutes. Guests observed the artists in action and witnessed 17 blank canvases become breathtaking pieces of art. After the live painting concluded, guests participated in a silent auction in hopes of taking home one of the pieces created at the event.

Boyd receives Patrons Choice Award

Five pieces of artwork currently hang on the walls of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, each an original piece from the Cancer Center’s annual ArtBLINK Gala over the years. This year, a new masterpiece will be added to the collection.

The O’Neal Cancer Center director and members of the advisory board select one artist each year to receive the Patrons Choice Award, an honor that began at the 2015 ArtBLINK Gala. To compete for the Patrons Choice Award, each artist must display two pre-made pieces at the gala that are judged before the event’s live painting session. The winner’s artwork is later hung in the Cancer Center alongside those of past Patrons Choice Award recipients.

Patrons Choice Award winner Sally Boyd completes a painting live on stage at this year’s ArtBLINK Gala on Feb. 1 at The Kirklin Clinic. (Photo by Mike Strawn)

This year’s Patrons Choice Award winner, Sally Boyd, has participated in ArtBLINK for six years. As an artist, Boyd believes inspiration is found in the everyday, but she says she feels especially motivated by the fight against cancer.

“I am an ovarian cancer survivor, my mom is a bone cancer survivor, and I lost my dad to lung cancer, as well as a very special aunt to stomach cancer, even though she had been a 16-year survivor of breast cancer,” Boyd said. “Anything I can do to help to find the cure for cancer, I am in.”

Boyd received her own ovarian cancer diagnosis after a scheduled hysterectomy in December 2014. The cancer, in its earliest stage, could only be detected microscopically. Boyd says she feels blessed by this incidental discovery.

“Although I had been touched by cancer through my loved ones, it wasn’t until it actually reared its ugly head in my body that I decided to join this fight,” she said. “ArtBLINK is the perfect fit for me to do whatever small part I can to contribute to ultimately finding a cure for cancer.”

Make your own gift to the O’Neal Cancer Center, including the Fund for Excellence, online or by calling (205) 934-0930.

View more photos from this year’s ArtBLINK Gala: artblink.org/photos

 


 

This story originally ran in the Spring 2020 issue of the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center magazine. Request a free subscription to the print edition or a change to your subscription information at go.uab.edu/onealcccmag

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