A crowd of friends, family members and staff at El Camino Hospital’s Cancer Center gathered last week to kick off the Symphony of Color Art Show.
The exhibition – on display in the hospital’s Piano Lobby through February – is a collection of paintings created by El Camino Hospital cancer patients, all students of art therapist Tehila Eisenstat, who has offered her Creative Expressions painting class for the past 12 years on the hospital campus.
Eisenstat told the Town Crier that her class aims to provide students a temporary escape from the harsh realities of their disease. Along the way, she noted, her students gain a sense of camaraderie and a way to express themselves through art.
“It gives quality and beauty to life,” said Eisenstat, whose students range in age from 20 to 90. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Among the students in attendance at the show’s opening reception Feb. 11 was Mountain View resident Jane Gibson, the Cancer Center’s first patient and a breast cancer survivor now six years in remission. Gibson called Eisenstat “one of a kind,” noting her compassion and upbeat attitude to all who enter her class. Gibson added that the ability to escape her disease – even for just two hours a week – aided in her road back to health.
“It was as big a part of my recovery as anything else. … It literally saved my life,” she said. “When you walk through those doors, you leave cancer outside and you go and paint. You don’t fret.”
Camille Marvin, another of Eisenstat’s students, said the class offers a sense of community for her and other patients.
“It’s really unique and special,” Marvin said. “We bond a lot as a class. We all just have these special relationships with each other.”
And while Eisenstat offers her students a brief respite and the chance to bond, she said her class provides her something unique as well – the chance to give back in a meaningful way.
“This is why I do this,” said Eisenstat, pointing to the hospital’s lobby, filled with patients joined by their family members, friends and medical staff. “This is a huge thing – and it’s wonderful.”
The free Creative Expressions class meets 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 9:30-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at El Camino Hospital’s Park Pavilion, Conference Room K, 2500 Grant Road, Mountain View.
To register and for more information, call 988-8338.
For more information on Eisenstat, visit tehila-art.com.
Creative Expressions Exhibit - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier