Talking To Rene Hugo Arceo – Artist

Voices & Visions: Standing on the Bridge Between Health and Disease 2020

Voices and Visions, Standing on the Bridge Between Health and Disease, 2020 will take place August 7 through September 26, 2020, at The Art Center Highland Park (TACHP).  TACHP curator, Caren Helene Rudman, has had cancer hit her family on many fronts, from five great aunts, her great grandmother and ultimately losing her Mother and her sister to the disease. Additionally, she and her family members have taken preliminary action to head off cancer, including mastectomies, hysterectomies and more. Caren’s passion for using the power of art and creativity as a healing voice is inspiring.  

Voices & Visions; Standing on the Bridge Between Health and Disease began in 2010 as an exhibit about breast and ovarian cancers. This exhibit was conceived as a 3-part trilogy consisting of a wall of statements answering different cancer-related questions (Voices), the juried art exhibition (Visions), and a race (wellness aspect.) The exhibit was such a success that the healthcare company Medline sponsored the exhibit as part of their breast cancer initiative, creating a tour of the 2010 exhibit, traveling to several cancer centers across the country.  Realizing the strength behind the theme, TACHP continued to present the exhibit as an annual event until 2012, when it transitioned to a biennial exhibit with a wider theme of cancer as a metaphor.

With each exhibit there exists a theme derived from putting the work together, including Out of Darkness Comes Light, Connections, and Color. The different questions asked range from; “How do you find strength in pain?” “How has cancer affected your life?” and “How do you detach from your body as you head in to surgery?” The responses have been honest and broad, seen in the first answer to, “how do you detach” was, “I have never felt more connected to my body in my life.”

Caren Helene Rudman, Reflecting

The Trilogy: 

  • Vision with the creative expression of artists
  • Voices from statements asked of community members and beyond which are displayed on plaques in the exhibit. In 2020, we ask: How have healthcare providers and/ or caregivers helped you and your family members through your journey in dealing with cancer?
  • Health and Wellness-  breast and ovarian cancers which was conceived as part of the trilogy

 Each year, TACHP honors someone who has battled cancer. In 2018, Jackie Sabath was honored. She had exhibited in 2016 with what turned out to be her last work of art, made specifically for Voices & Visions, just days before the exhibit installation. In partnership with Jackie’s family TACHP created The Jackie Sabath Exhibition Fund.

Jackie Sabath was an established artist on the North Shore. Her powerful piece, “Back Up Against a Wall, but Moving Forward,” exemplifies her spirit and strength to persevere throughout her life. The Jackie Sabath Exhibition Fund has been created to carry on her legacy by helping TACHP’s future exhibitions, social awareness, and educational outreach.

Caren Helene Rudman, the curator of this meaningful exhibit is amazed each year by the level of depth and beauty of the art and responses. Caren always states that this exhibit defies expectations and preconceptions about an art exhibit about cancer, because it has been anything but dark and sad. Her vision of Voices and Visions: Standing on the Bridge Between Health and Disease is best explained in her words; “This exhibit was conceived to express the shaky ground on which we feel when facing our mortality or those whom we love. As we allow ourselves to share the depth of what is in our hearts, we shed light on what gives all of our lives meaning.”

Save the Dates: Voices and Visions: Standing on the Bridge Between Health and Disease opens to the public August 14, 2020, and September 11, 5:30- 8:00 PM, the official Artist Reception (outdoors!) 

The Art Center Highland Park Covid 19 Message: (April v. 2)

The Art Center Highland Park Covid 19 Message: (April v. 2)

This is a time where sometimes it is hard to smile.  We have all learned to be creative about how we communicate and connect with those we work with, take art classes from, or someone we love.  At this time of social distancing remember to connect with your creative side.  Many art museums around the world offer virtual visits, you can go to the opera on-line, or even watch penguins explore the Shedd Aquarium.

Our first suggestion, visit The Art Center Highland Park Virtual Gallery to see the current exhibition, Love and Collaboration, an exciting and engaging exhibition.  We need more love and collaboration right now!

To move outside HP check out Google’s Arts & Culture platform, where many Chicago institutions offer digitized access to their exhibits and in some cases an interactive “explore” function that allows you to virtually stroll from room to room at will.

The list includes downtown’s Adler PlanetariumShedd AquariumField Museum, and Art Institute of Chicago as well as smaller neighborhood museums like Washington Park’s DuSable Museum of African American History, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, the IIT Institute of Design, and University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.

All of us at The Art Center Highland Park wish you smiles during this difficult time.  With our underwriting sponsor NorthShore University HealthSystem we help you stay safe.

Be Well! 

A Covid 19 Message from NorthShore University HealthSystem

Get the Word Out for Everyone’s Safety

To limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us must take aggressive action to keep ourselves, our family, and our community safe. Now more than ever we need to get the word out. Please pass this important information on to your local family, friends and neighbors.

If you or anyone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call 847-HEALTH9(847-432-5849) to talk to a NorthShore clinical expert. The expert may recommend testing.

Symptoms may include any one or a combination of:

  • Decrease in sense of taste or smell
  • Fever – temperature of 100 or higher
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches with flu-like symptoms

If you are already a NorthShore patient, you can also log into NorthShoreConnect ( to be screened, or if you are not a NorthShore patient, you can enroll in NorthShoreConnect, and use the COVID-19 E-Visit. Please go to and click on the “sign up now” button and follow the instructions.

Donna Bliss Interview with Carol Austin, PHD Clinical Psychology, TACHP Faculty “Your Brain Your Art”

NorthShore University HealthSystem February Blog:

February 10, 2020:  Donna Bliss Interview with Carol Austin, PHD Clinical Psychology, TACHP Faculty “Your Brain Your Art”

Carol is an artist and psychologist who works with her students to explore the unique relationship between creativity and the brain.  Described as “mind blowing”, this class stimulates creativity, stretch the mind, and help overcome blocks to understand how we think and process information. Carol also focuses on exploration and personal discovery and to foster cooperative group processing and sharing.

Donna: “Carol, tell us about the impact of creativity on our brain and general outlook on life.”

Carol: This class, “Your Brain Your Art” aims to help everyone think and process information.  For example a Left Brain person processes one way, and a Right Brain student processes their way, both can use creativity to slow the aging process”.

Donna:  That is intriguing, we all want to stay young and vibrant.  Can you explain how that works?”

Carol: Trying new things stimulates the brain function, enhances memory and helps the aging brain.  We don’t really forget things, our brains are just on overload, so it take longer to remember.  When I deal with aging students I sometime hear, ‘Nothing interests me, I’m complacent, or I need to try something new.’ If your brain is healthy you will try new things.”

Donna:  What is the specific link between art and creativity and brain function:”

Carol:  Ask yourself how many hours did you spend in school leaning history? How many hours did you spend learning to make decisions, or how much time does it take you to process information?  Using that same amount of time being creative will give you insights that will help you in your creative expression, and slow down the aging process.”


Carol Austin teaches, “Your Brain Your Art” at The Art Center Highland Park, and will offer that class for the Spring Session.

The Link Between the Arts, Health and Wellness

The Link Between the Arts, Health and Wellness 

Health and Wellness programs underwritten by NorthShore University HealthSystem


Nutrition and exercise seem to be the buzz words for being healthy and maintaining mental wellness. Our advice includes having a good sleep routine, practicing relaxation, and having a good social network.  Are you looking for something else to add to your toolbox? Why not try the arts?

The Arts, Health and Wellness

The link between the arts and health and well-being goes back many years.  In fact, the use of the arts in health has been increasing for the past thirty years. The “arts” are more than just drawing and painting. They include music, dance and movement, writing, sculpture, woodwork, mosaics, jewelry making, fiber art printmaking and more.

At The Art Center Highland Park those activities are all under one roof. You don’t need to be an “artist” or a professional crafts person to benefit from doing these activities. The act of being creative is the key and it can help decrease everyday stress and anxieties. Participating in the arts can also help with depression, increase positive emotions and, in some cases, even improve immune system functioning. And, if you create art within a group setting, you can form supportive relationships and friendships. Creativity is increasingly being validated as a potent mind-body approach to address a variety of challenges. Why not give it a try?

Try a Winter Class

Beat your Cabin Fever and check out our classes that will get your feet tapping, your brain working and let you walk out feeling energized and creative.

New dance classes:

  • Adult Swing and Foxtrot Class, guaranteed to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face
  • Adult Cha Cha and Tango Class: put a Latin beat to your winter blues

Feeling musical, try one of these classes:

  • The Basics of Blues Guitar
  • Creative Guitar Ensemble for Beginners
  • Life Rhythms Drum Circle

To get your creative juices flowing:

  • Illustrated Words
  • Your Brain Your Art
  • The Joy Project: Art and Wellness
  • Journaling for Self Care

When you are ready to become a professional artist find the opportunities here:

Art and Healing Network  Click here
The Arts and Healing Network offers a list of possible grant and sponsorship opportunities through a robust database that is searchable by location and media.  The database is extensive and covers many different venues. It’s worth exploring.

Health and Wellness programs underwritten by NorthShore University HealthSystem

Easy Ways To Make Your Art Accessible To Everyone

Easy Ways To Make Your Art Accessible To Everyone

by: Katlyn Eriksen

Creating or simply appreciating art can do so much to feed the mind and soul, which is why it’s important that everyone should be able to experience it, despite any physical limitations. Because of this, museums all over the world are now taking concrete steps to provide a satisfying experience for those who are visually impaired, as well as for people who have mobility challenges. The Wellcome Collection, in particular, is making headlines as the New York Times notes that this science and medicine London institution could be the most accessible museum in the world right now. With display heights strategically planned to accommodate wheelchair users, audio and visual guides, and exhibits that include items that can be touched, it’s clear to see why visitors are flocking to this museum: the institution makes it very clear that accessibility has a place in art. 

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or are looking to showcase your art for the first time, you too can make your art accessible to everyone. With some planning and strategy, you can help those with physical limitations experience art in the best way. 

Choose your location wisely

Having good lighting and adequate space is key to having a successful art exhibition, but to make it accessible, pick a place located on the ground floor. If that’s not possible, make sure to book a place where there are lifts in the building. Having no steps or ramps within the exhibit space can also help those with mobility issues move around better. 

Enlist the help of a sign language interpreter

Letting people know that your exhibit is disability-friendly through an accessible and easy to navigate webpage can get the word out and give people with disabilities a general idea about what to expect from the event. On your website or social media page, make sure to specifically list the accessibility provisions, and provide your contact details so those with questions about it can get in touch with you. As more people will be going to your exhibit, have a plan in place to ensure that even those who are impaired can communicate with you and other artists. If you know someone who is fluent in sign language, ask them if they can help out at the exhibit, or you can hire a sign language interpreter. The standard rate of a sign language interpreter is currently at around $27 per hour, so make sure to have a budget in place.

Guide them well

On the day of the exhibit, make sure that doors are kept wide open so wheelchair users can move around, and have an evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency. Instead of pre-recorded audio guides, the artist and those who are familiar with the artist’s work should serve as exhibit tour guides, as they can vividly describe a piece of art to those with visual impairments. Placing Braille descriptions near paintings or installations can also help those with partial or total vision loss to get more information. 

Art should be an inclusive experience as it does so much to improve a person’s well-being. Try following these tips to make art accessible to everyone, and to help build a more equal and diverse art community.

Follow these Tips for a Healthy Art Filled Holiday

The holidays are the perfect time to celebrate life and spend time with family, friends, and loved ones. However, during the holiday season it can also be stressful to keep your mental and physical health in the forefront of your mind. This season, make sure you continue to build in time for your health and wellness, let creativity melt your stress.
The Art Center Highland Park and NorthShore University HealthSystem have partnered to bring health and wellness to the community. Take a few moments for yourself and try one of these winter mini classes. Bring friends and family with you.

These workshops will give you the opportunity to make gifts for your family and friends, experience the visceral joy of being in a drum circle, and taking a moment to relax and create.

December 5th, Life Rhythms Drum & Singing Circle Workshop

Life Rhythms is focused on adults wanting to improve memory and participate in making music on an individual and group level. There are significant intellectual, social and emotional benefits inherent in making music and research has shown that drum circles can improve cognitive activity by allowing participants to be a part of something they feel has purpose. Keeping engaged and active by participating in recreational and therapeutic drumming activities in a community setting benefits long term health and wellness and overall quality of life.

December 7th, Visual Storytelling through Phototransfer
This unique, hands-on workshop with local artist Victoria Marchio will provide you with an opportunity to select and transfer your own images to create a mixed-media canvas that will tell a story about the theme of your choosing. By using carefully chosen images and text you can create a canvas that expresses a political, social, moral, or cultural issue that is of importance to you. Watch powerful images emerge from a theme about which you feel passionate!

December 13th The Joy Project: Art and Wellness
Introduce art to your wellness practice in this one day workshop and find joy in the creative process by slowing down and taking a breath. Through exercises in mindfulness, play, journaling and expressive art making, we will discover the connection between

creative activities and well-being. Each class begins with setting an intention and a warm-up exercise. Discover your creativity by playing with paint and other mediums in a relaxed and supportive environment.

December 13th Making Mandala Ornaments Workshop
Come explore mandala patterns and color combinations as we design, draw, and paint on pre-cut wooden ornaments for you to take home. Great for gifts or holiday decorations.

These are a few of the offerings to brighten up your holiday. Check out our website: you can see all the winter-mini classes that can help your outlook this holiday.

Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday season.

Show you care, Be Aware!

TACHP has recently partnered with NorthShore University HealthSystem to communicate the strong relationship between the arts and Health and Wellness.  Through this partnership, TACHP wants to join our partners to spread the word about breast cancer awareness and the importance of getting your annual screening mammogram.

With a dedication to breast cancer prevention, NorthShore’s Center for Breast Health team places an emphasis on early detection. NorthShore’s Center for Breast Health performs more than 90,000 mammograms annually at our screening facilities located across the Chicago area, including downtown Chicago, in Nordstrom at Old Orchard shopping mall and our Center for Breast Health at each of our hospitals. Same-day screening mammogram appointments are often available, as well as fast-track scheduling for diagnostic procedures and appointments with breast surgeons.

As a preeminent imaging center in the Chicago region, and an industry leader in breast cancer prevention, NorthShore provides:

  • State-of-the-art breast imaging technology, including breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography), ultrasound, MRI and automated whole breast ultrasound (ABUS) for women with dense breasts
  • All images interpreted by dedicated breast radiologists, which research shows improves the rate of cancer detection

TACHP will offer a weekend ‘space’ in our galleries for health care professionals who are willing to offer resources and information concerning women’s health.

Watch this space for details about a woman’s health event, an honest discussion about breast cancer, its consequences, available resources, and other women’s health issues. Nutritionists, women’s health experts and others can take part in the event.  You can be a part of it during our Voices and Visions exhibit next Spring.

Reach out via email:

See these resources:

NorthShore University HealthSystem Breast Cancer Resources

Fact Checking: Debunking Mammogram Myths

The Art Center Highland Park and NorthShore University HealthSystem Partner for Health and Wellness Curriculum

The Art Center Highland Park and NorthShore University HealthSystem Partner for Health and Wellness Curriculum

The Art Center Highland Park sees the intrinsic link between creative expression and wellness, plus the trend of an aging population in the area as an opportunity to expand. That’s why they are partnering with NorthShore University HealthSystem to expand their Health and Wellness curriculum.

“I was looking for a corporate partner for this new expansion and my attention was drawn to NorthShore University HealthSystem’s core mission, ‘to preserve and improve human life’. There is great synergy with our goals as artists, so I reached out to them,” says Donna Bliss, Director of Development for TACHP.  “Their direct activities to achieve this mission are achieved through the provision of superior clinical care, academic excellence and innovative research and our activities are to create challenging programs that activate the brain, creativity and create community. We’re going ‘full spectrum’ on healthy living.”

While NorthShore launched their initiative Healthy You, an online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life, TACHP expanded their curriculum from three to nine Health and Wellness Classes, offered in multiple days and times, plus workshops.

Healthy You covers a range of topics from

  • 6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
  • Healthy Eating on a Budget
  • How to Maximize the changes of Daylight Savings Time

TACHP offers the following:

  • The Art of Play (and Intro to the Art of Play
  • Word Play
  • The Joy Project
  • Sketchbook Journaling
  • Your Brain, Your Art
  • Life Rhythms Drum and Singing Circle

Contact NorthShore University HealthSystem:

The Art Center Highland Park:


Sunday Salon Artist Talk

Please join us for our first Sunday Salon Artist Talk!

Engaging Diversity in the Arts: Community Discussion

The Art Center Highland Park hosts a panel discussion, Engaging Diversity in the Arts, on Sunday, September 22, 2019, 2:00-4:00pm. 

Panelists include moderator Gabrielle Lyon, PhD, Executive Director of the Illinois Humanities, and featured artists from our exhibition, IMPACT Color IMPACT Black and White, Rhonda K. Brown, Cesar Conde, and Caren Helene Rudman. 

We invite the community to this free event to join the conversation about the need for and acceptance of inclusion and freedom of expression. TACHP hopes to bring people together with Impact Color Impact Black & White, by breaking down barriers of constraints racial and negative preconceptions of those who are seen as “different”.. We hope you all join our conversation bringing communities together to make an impact in a positive way.