System News

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 - Student auctions artwork to support RSF Foundation’s cancer initiatives

Chartreuse hues, hopeful strokes of blue and bright pink highlights sweep across Gracie Coleman’s canvases, depicting stunning scenes of nature.  

The 15-year-old Porter Gaud student says her work is inspired by her father’s favorite things, which include days spent outside by the water and music by artists like Neil Young and The Beatles.   

“He was a talented musician who had an appreciation for the arts,” Coleman said. “I’ve always been crafty, and that was something he really enjoyed sharing with me.”  

Porter Gaud’s Community Services Director Gretchen Tate said Gracie is an inspiration.

Coleman lost her father to colon cancer in 2022. Now, her father’s love of art and nature – and the pair’s special connection – shines through her striking paintings that she auctions to raise money for the Roper St. Francis Foundation in support of colon cancer research and awareness.

“I get chills when I look at her paintings,” said Gretchen Tate, director of community services and teacher at Porter Gaud. “Gracie has been incredibly inspiring with her ideas, implementation and follow-through. She’s got a service heart.” 

A year ago, Coleman stumbled upon a video of her father playing the song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young on guitar, which inspired the name of her brand, Harvest Moon Artworks. From there, her idea to fundraise in honor of her father began to unfold.

Painting can be a healing process for her, Coleman said. But it also could inspire healing in others. By painting scenes of sunsets, marshes and wildlife, she hopes that she might inspire cancer patients to seek healing by connecting with nature. Her father received many of his treatments through Roper St. Francis Healthcare, and she wants the money raised from her artwork to further support more cancer patients.

Her first auction took place this year in March in honor of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, during which she raised $1,300 to support the Roper St. Francis Foundation. Through her first auction, Coleman began forming connections with family friends and even a local colon cancer patients, who commissioned a painting of his dog. 

Coleman said the support she received so far has been a humbling experience. 

“A lot of my followers are my dad’s friends and people who really miss him,” she said. “Through my artwork, I’m connecting them to him and to me, which is really cool.” 

Coleman references the Bible verse Matthew 25: 14-30, also known as “The Parable of the Bags of Gold,” as another inspiration for her art and fundraising efforts.  

“My faith is really important to me,” Coleman said. “That parable is about using the gifts that God gives you to do good. With art as my instrument, that’s what I’m trying to do.”  

Coleman’s next art auction will take place on Instagram this weekend, April 20-23. The money she raises also will be added to her donation fund to benefit colon cancer patients.  

You can keep an eye out for Coleman’s future auctions and learn more about commissioning paintings by following @harvestmoonchs.  

Money raised through the Roper St. Francis Foundation helps fund efforts such as Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s free cancer screenings for the underserved and uninsured. You can learn more about those events here.  

Support cancer research by purchasing one of Gracie Coleman’s paintings or you can make a donation directly to the Roper St. Francis Foundation here.

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