AGE, SURVIVE AND THRIVE: Art Saves Lives Exhibition

Diane Sciarretta, creator of Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshops and founder of the Red & Orange House Foundation

AGE, SURVIVE AND THRIVE, an exhibition showcasing drawings and poems by long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS, will open with a reception on Sunday, May 6, at the Art Saves Lives Gallery, 518 Castro Street in San Francisco.

Produced by Bodyscapes Healing Art Workshops (created by Diane Sciarretta), the specific subject matter of AGE, SURVIVE AND THRIVE is the illness itself. All of the artwork in the exhibition was created by long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS to help heal the artists as well as the broader community.

The artists featured in this exhibition are members of

Honoring Our Experience member George Kelly at a Bodyscapes workshop

Honoring Our Experience [A&U, April 2016], a social support group founded by activist Gregg Cassin that is part of the Shanti Project. HOE has been working with Diane Sciarretta’s Bodyscapes for two years now, frequently creating art after one of HOE’s Monday afternoon “Meals Heal” gatherings at Project Open Hand. Ms. Sciarretta is an experienced art educator whose core vision and practice consists of making art with people suffering with serious illness, with illness itself as the subject of their art. She developed the Bodyscapes technique from her own experience with serious illness as a method of transforming her students from victims to interpreters, artists whose goal is to find meaning in the experience of coping with serious illness. This exhibition is the culmination of Ms. Sciarretta’s two-year project with HOE.

George Kelly’s Ode to My Heart

Marcus Oliphant, a HOE member whose pastel drawing titled “Inside Me,” is on the cover of the exhibition’s catalogue, said of his experience, “Bodyscapes is a beautiful and creative platform to express your feelings in a POZitive way. It really gave me inspiration to tap back into my artistic side. Diane guides you through the process of creating your own masterpiece.”

Honoring Our Experience at Bodyscapes: (left to right) Jesús Guillén, Diane Sciarretta, Harry Breaux, and Gregg Cassin, founder of HOE

The opening reception, free and open to the public from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, 2018, complete with sparkling beverages and chocolates, is sponsored by the Art Saves Lives Gallery, which supports San Francisco artists. Owned by Thomasina DeMaio, the gallery is an all-welcoming space where, they insist, “imagination is inspired, and the art is well hung!” Some of the original drawings in the AGE, SURVIVE AND THRIVE exhibition will be offered for sale, along with reproduction posters and souvenir catalogues. Celebrate the opening of this exhibition with the artists!

For more information about Dianne Sciarretta’s Bodyscape programs, log on to Information about the Art Saves Lives Gallery, check out their Facebook page at

—Reporting by Hank Trout

Hank Trout, Editor at Large, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a thirty-eight-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.