Forest Hills artist organizes Art For Life competition to raise funds for Elmhurst Hospital Hope Pavilion Cancer Clinic

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(From l. to r.) Linda Perlman, Sol Perlman, Leah Salmorin, and Michael Perlman, in front of Ridgewood Savings Bank, which will be the backdrop of the virtual event. (Courtesy of Michael Perlman)

Arts For Life, a humanitarian art contest and fundraiser is uniting diverse artists from Queens and beyond with a mission of bringing hope for cancer patients.

Forest Hills artist and historian Michael Perlman, and Leah Salmorin, charity founder and event coordinator of Paddle For The Cure, will co-host a Zoom and Facebook Live art show from Ridgewood Savings Bank on Friday, April 30, at 5:30 p.m. 

The event was made possible by Ridgewood Savings Bank Branch Manager Nancy Adzemovic and her colleagues who will fulfill their mission to “multiply the good.” Numerous artists will compete in painting, photography and drawing categories after submitting their biography and works of art inspired by hope, water sports, breast cancer awareness and seeing the light during the pandemic. 

The winners announced in each category will win $100, donated by Ridgewood Savings Bank. Artists who enrolled and paid $20 will help Elmhurst Hospital Center’s Hope Pavilion Cancer Clinic and Paddle For The Cure fulfill their mission, and winning artists will have their artwork donated and displayed at the Hope Pavilion Clinic. Entries will be judged by nurse practitioner and artist Mervin David of Elmhurst Hospital, and technical assistance will be provided by research scholar Michael M. Wechsler, Esq.

“It is always timely to commit good deeds by lending a helping hand to people in need, and this humanitarian art initiative is a creative way to boost the arts scene in Queens and beyond, which is largely needed,” Perlman said. “Most of all, this event will enable cancer patients to see the light during the most challenging times and raise much-needed funds. Art offers healing powers.” 

Since 2019, Perlman’s exhibit, “Reflections of Historic Forest Hills” has been viewed at Jade Eatery, located at 1 Station Sq. in Forest Hills Gardens, which features his photography and restored vintage images. 

Perlman told NY1 News that his art show inspired him to produce a humanitarian art contest and fundraiser and embracing the commendable missions of Paddle For The Cure, Elmhurst Hospital, and Ridgewood Savings Bank, while supporting fellow artists. 

“Artists who enrolled are true humanitarians, where each work touches the heart and tells a story, which may be a reflection of their stories,” Perlman said.  

Salmorin is a breast cancer survivor who founded Paddle For The Cure (PFC), a nonprofit that supports fellow survivors through recreational opportunities including dragon boat paddling & bowling. The organization’s aim is to foster a healthy lifestyle and offer emotional support and team spirit. 

For Salmorin, Arts For Life is very personal and meaningful since her family has a pool of cancer and diabetes, and as a breast cancer survivor, she believes that all mediums related to the arts are therapeutic — a process and part of healing, analogous to water symbolizing a renewal of one’s soul. 

“I almost passed five times (diabetic coma, two car accidents, breast cancer and COVID-19), but surviving is a priceless gift,” Salmorin said. “I vowed to give where I can, to help others affected, and feel that I can’t waste the rest of my life without making an impact on this planet.” 

Salmorin’s gift of life is also her way of giving back to Elmhurst Hospital, which she calls her “home away from home” where she was treated for breast cancer.

“I will never forget the time I stepped into the doors and the entire staff welcomed me with beautiful smiles, which comforted me during my journey. With gratitude, I thank those that are still at the clinic, who wrapped me around with a blanket of love,” Salmorin said. 

Salmorin believes that there are many artists who need to be recognized, and with the event that her and Perlman have coordinated, she said, “It brings everybody into one for a good cause, and that art is the key to healing that can touch one heart to another.”

To enroll and view a flyer, visit eventbrite.com