Muses rally for one of their own
Someone complained to the city’s bylaws office about the weeds in Janet Whitehead’s garden.
The plants are gone now — courtesy of a group of skateboarders who wanted to help the local artist who has given so much to so many.
Whitehead is battling a rare form of breast cancer, a fight that leaves her often drained, she said.
It’s a war with which all cancer patients can.
“I’ve had to learn to ask for and accept help,” Whitehead said of her life since she was given the diagnosis in March.
“And, I’ve discovered it takes a whole community to raise a Janet.”
Many in that community are gathering at The Art We Are, 246 Victoria St., on Saturday, Sept. 1, to raise some money to help their friend and mentor.
As a self-employed business woman with no disability insurance, being unable to work right now means her income has stopped.
The expenses haven’t.
“This wiped out my business and income,” Whitehead said.
Travel to the cancer clinic and some of her medications are covered, Whitehead said, but not all.
So, Hope Mikal and many others have organized Supporting Janet Whitehead’s Healing Journey at the downtown venue from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The focus will be a silent auction, with many donations from throughout North America by artists, artisans and friends of Whitehead.
“I am so grateful,” Whitehead said, “and I’m excited because all these people get to show their stuff.
“These are such creative thinkers and they’ll be showing what inspires them.”
Whitehead hopes to be there, if only for a short while.
It’s possible she’ll be sporting her own artistic statement — Mikal has given her a gift certificate to have her now-bald head decorated by a local henna artist.
“It’s been extraordinary to watch what Hope is doing with this event,” Whitehead said.
“She is such an amazing young woman. I get excited for her.”
Mikal is just part of what Whitehead calls her community of muses — her business is Musings and Mud Life Coaching Studio — and they’ve all gathered around her since the diagnosis.
Just like the skateboarders who heard about the weed complaint and wanted to help, this group has been bringing Whitehead food, holding gatherings to keep her spirits up and even, before her mastectomy surgery, held a fun night where they painted her chest.
“They posted some pictures from that on Facebook and I thought ‘Well, I guess I’ve gone public with this now;,” Whitehead said.
She’s getting used to her new “crazy, crazy life,” and tries to do “what feels good in the moment,” working to avoid the stress that naturally comes from fighting a rare disease.
Whitehead spends some time “doodling, sketching and writing and getting out into nature.”
She’s made some thank-you cards and has done a bit of painting and tries to keep her mind occupied.
She spends time studying the science behind the cancer and its treatment and is slowly coming to terms with her baldness.
“It’s been hard to go out in public since losing my hair,” she said, “but I look at it as preventative medicine — although I still look sick.”
Anyone who wants to donate to the event or volunteer on Saturday can contact Mikal by email at email@example.com.
There’s also an online fundraiser accepting financial donations at fundrazr.com/campaigns/aIkz0.
Some silent-auction items
• Lori Putoto, one session of breath integration
• Annette Dominik, Timeless Summer photo print
• Eric Putoto, four rounds at Tobiano
• Paula Crotty, handmade quilt
• September Kuromi, commission portrait of pet, horse or child, two oil paintings
• Linda McRae, Where Fairies Live canvas-wrapped photo
• Brian Oswell, four hours of construction labour
• Cindy Hayden, glass piece
• Muriel Miller, handpainted stool and jewelry hanger, healing gift certificate, nine Modern Day Muses Workshop gift certificates
• Erica Tippe, painting
• Kelsey Avril, earrings, five hours of babysitting for date night
• Solange Belleforte, digital canvas collage reproduction
• Donna Muholland, four-pack of handmade cards
• Paula Boyd Farrington, collage/small mixed media
• Sarah/Byron Steele, photo
• Pat Owen, creating something special
• Dawn Kotzer, small matted artpiece
• Milana Finch, Tibetan prayer flags
• Jae (Chelsea’s G-MA), eagle landing painting, blanket
• Coreena McBurnie, hardcover book The Girl Who Circumvented
• Amanda Hill, painting
• Melanie Van Mol, two copies of her novel
• Una Connor, magik wand, painted skull, print, jewelry
• Diane Caste-Hale, soap or glass piece
• Jeanne Wood, Healing Circle 3
• Tammi Glanzer-Boudreau, hennaed tambourine and hennaed silk scarf
• Nola Campbell, mobile/miracle box
• Mystic Dreams, mask
• Kelly Mackay, two books of her photography
• Laura Bittante, Caught on tape
• Chelsea Mae Smith, wood -burned box with treasure inside
• Jenna Dittrich, art history book, earrings