It is not often that you are given the chance to view award-winning art and hear a Grammy-winning artist perform and speak in Central New York. But now you can at the inaugural Art for the Heart event, featuring Joanne Shenandoah and presented by Cayuga Community Health Network and the Cayuga Museum of History and Art. The event is at Cayuga Community College, 197 Franklin St., Auburn, Sunday, Feb. 13, from 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Art for the Heart provides the chance to join with residents of Cayuga County, raise money for the presenting organizations, experience art in different forms and learn more about how Native American art, culture and philosophy affect health, music and art. Shenandoah, an Oneida Nation member and world-renowned musician, will lecture on women’s health and music as a healing force and, of course, perform.
Art for the Heart was born from the idea that health is not all dumbbells, spandex and treadmills. “For us, the partnership came from the idea that in order to be healthy, it takes more than physical health,” said Lauren Chycle, curator at the Cayuga Museum of History and Art.
“Cultural events also make people healthy.”
Chycle talked with Irving Lyons, executive director for the Cayuga Community Health Network, and the two realized their jobs overlap on some valuable common ground. “We thought it would be a really nice partnership, healthy living and fine arts,” Lyons said.
“We’re promoting the fact that art is a very good piece in people’s well-being. It’s been shown that art and music influences people’s well-being. It’s a stress reliever.”
And thus, Art for the Heart was born, and took up the mission of bringing art (Native American art, in particular), health and the relationship between the two to the masses. “We try to cover all the history of Cayuga County and the area, but there is a lack of native arts,” Chycle said. Art for the Heart will change that. “To my knowledge, this is the first time in Cayuga County that a native art show will be shown to the community,” Lyons noted.
Art for the Heart will not only bring visual art to Central New York, it will bring Joanne Shenandoah. Shenandoah’s work spans from recording and performing music to film. She will be discussing how art is, in fact, good for the heart.
“I’ve learned that music can be a healing force,” Shenandoah said. “The vibration of music has everything to do with how we are affected in our daily lives. The music has a serious intense effect on our body.”
Shenandoah was not always aware of her calling to help people through music. “I started doing music 20 years ago. I already had a career in the computer industry,” Shenandoah explained. “I was not using my Creator-given gift. Then I started doing that, and my whole world changed.” Since that turning point, she has won Syracuse New Times Syracuse Area Music Awards (Sammys), Native American Music Awards (Nammys) and a Grammy, recorded 15 albums, appeared in films and brought her music to the world.
While Shenandoah’s message to the Central New York community will focus on women’s health through a Native perspective, everyone will benefit from what she has to say. She will be talking about “finding our own path to making this world and our world a better place by finding our own sense of identity and belonging. What is our own responsibility?” asked Shenandoah. “Some people wake up in the morning and ask, ‘What is my destiny?’ Some people, on the other hand, know exactly what they are doing. Everything flows smoothly. The sun is shining and we are happy people providing others the same sense of hope.”
Tickets to the event cost $17. For more information, call 252-4212.