Relay for Life NAHS

Luminaries light the path at North Attleboro High School during a past Greater Attleboro Relay for Life.

ATTLEBORO — The Attleboro Arts Museum will offer a new exhibit in February, “Luminaria,” which will pay tribute to the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life fundraisers.

The exhibit, which is being planned for Feb. 15-21, will be presented in partnership with the Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro, now in its 22nd year. It will be held June 12-13 at Norton High School.

The relay typically draws participants from most Attleboro area communities, including Attleboro, North Attleboro, Norton, Plainville and Rehoboth. It involves dozens of teams and several hundred individuals, including volunteers, participants and spectators.

Museum Executive Director Mim Fawcett said the exhibit will feature artists’ renditions of luminaria, created in various media. Luminaria are paper bags that are lit on the track using glow sticks during the relay in honor of cancer survivors and in memory of cancer victims.

The luminaria ceremony includes a special lap taken around the track by cancer survivors and their caregivers. It has traditionally been one of the highlights of the annual event, and that inspired Fawcett to fashion the art exhibit around it.

“To help spread the word about this important cause and relay, the Attleboro Arts Museum will exhibit original ‘artful’ luminaria, created by artists in their own style and chosen medium,” Fawcett said. “The exhibit will shine a light on the mission of the American Cancer Society, the strength of community collaboration and the remarkable power of artistic expression.”

Fawcett said participating artists will include Eman Abdalla, Kareem Abdalla, Barbara J. Adams, Bill Clark, Susan G. Daum, Fawcett, Margo Lemieux, Amelia Lydon, Gwyn Marathas, Sheila Oliveira, Susan Potter, Nora Rabins, Betsy Ritz, Abby Rovaldi, Sarah Samways, Michelle Scotti, Kerry St. Pierre, Carolann Tebbetts and Steven Wiseman.

Brittney Toth, the American Cancer Society’s liaison for the event, expressed her gratitude to the museum for organizing the art display.

“I am excited to see the vision that the museum and the volunteers have been creating to showcase such an impactful moment of Relay For Life come to life,” Toth said. “I think this is a perfect way to spread the word about the great work that the Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro does within the community,” she said, adding that the exhibit “will highlight the mission of the American Cancer Society.”

The opening reception for the “Luminaria” exhibit will take place from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. Reception reservations are requested, but not required, by Feb. 14 by calling 508-222-2644, ext. 10, or via email at office@attleboroartsmuseum.org.

After the opening reception, the exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 through Friday, Feb. 21, at the 86 Park St. museum. (The museum is closed Sundays and Mondays.)

In addition, segments of the exhibition will remain on view during Attleboro’s Winter Night Festival, which will be held in downtown Attleboro from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. There’s no admission charge for either the “Luminaria” exhibit or the festival.

The national Relay For Life fundraiser will be celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. It was started in 1985 by Dr. Gordon “Gordy” Klatt, who walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash. He covered 83.6 miles and raised $27,000.

Klatt died Aug. 3, 2014, from heart failure and stomach cancer, but what he started has exceeded all expectations, as the fundraisers are now held in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries and have raised more than $5 billion since 1985.

The Greater Attleboro Relay For Life is the oldest such event in this area, as it began in 1999 at North Attleboro High School, where it was held until moving to Norton in 2018.

Members from the relay’s organizing committee will be at both the exhibit’s opening reception and the Winter Night Festival to answer questions about this year’s relay.

The formal kickoff for the 2020 Greater Attleboro Relay For Life will be held 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27 at Plainridge Park Casino on Route 1 in Plainville. The kickoff is free and open to anyone interested in joining or supporting this year’s event.

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