Painting 4 the Cure

Ballet Inspired Paintings in Support of Breast Cancer

By: Roya June


Asheville artist, Adrienne van Dooren began a series of dance-inspired paintings to increase awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for research. Several original oil paintings are currently on display at the Grand Bohemian Gallery. I interviewed Adrienne for this article to find out more about the project:


Roya: I read about you in the Washington Post and MORE magazine and was impressed that you’ve managed to raise over $250,000 through art. How did you do it?


Adrienne: I didn’t do it alone. I started Artists4Others almost ten years ago. Our first project was the House that Faux Built project and book to raise money for Katrina Victims. The book is titled The House that Faux Built: Transform Your Home with Paint, Plaster and Creativity. It is out of the bookstores now, but is still available in libraries and on Amazon. Folks can download free chapters at 100% of the profits went to fund a Habitat for Humanity House in New Orleans.


Once the house was funded, Asheville artist Lyna Farkas led a team to New Orleans to work her magic and hand the family the key to their new home. The artists also painted murals for the kids’ rooms and did beautiful faux finishes throughout the home. (Sadly most of the murals had to be ripped out less than a year later due to defective Chinese drywall.)


Other projects by Artists4Others involved community projects and auctions to benefit animal rescue, hospitals and hospice. The latest is Painting4theCure.


Roya: Painting4theCure is inspired by dance and most of your paintings depict ballet shoes and dancers. How does ballet relate to breast cancer?


Adrienne: I see very strong parallels between the feminine energy and strength found in dance and the type of strength needed to fight breast cancer. I also love that I can incorporate the crossed pink ribbon breast cancer symbol into the dancer’s shoes, dresses or hair in a way that isn’t too obvious but is still meaningful.


Roya: How exactly does this project benefit Breast Cancer Research?


Adrienne: It helps in two ways: My first intention is that the painting series increases awareness—both of the importance of self-checks/ mammograms and the need to donate to cancer research.


And, I donate 15% of my artist profits to Breast Cancer charities and donate art to charitable auctions.


Roya: Why this cause?


Adrienne: I survived cervical cancer, but find breast cancer particularly scary. I’ll never forget growing up—my best friend’s mother died of breast cancer when Lydia was only eight years old. It was even more tragic because her mom knew she had a lump but put off going to the doctor. More recently my own Mother and my best friend had to go through lumpectomies. I recently learned that while increasingly curable, breast cancer still kills more women in the US than any other cancer besides lung cancer.


Roya: Your work has been shown from Denmark to Dubai; for this project, are you concentrating on WNC dancers?


Adrienne: For the most part, yes. I have worked closely with Ann Dunn and am very impressed with the job she has done with the Asheville Ballet. She has allowed me full access to her dancers in rehearsal for this month’s Sleeping Beauty performance (May 18 and 19 at the Diana Wortham Theater).


Art Prints sold at the Ballet Studio and performances will help benefit the ballet, which is a non-profit. They need donations to continue to perform. I think WNC learned an important lesson when Bravo Productions recently went out of business after 80 years of bringing ballets and concerts to Asheville. If we want to continue enjoying the Arts, we must support them—both through donations and attendance.


Roya: Where can folks get your art?


Adrienne: Limited Giclées and prints are available through The Asheville Ballet or by contacting me directly through However, the original oil paintings for this series are available exclusively through the Grand Bohemian Gallery (across from the entrance to the Biltmore). The gallery has scheduled the opening reception for the Paint4theCure collection for October 5th.


I recently completed a painting series of fifteen landscapes featuring cows painted in the style of the old masters. Those paintings benefit animal rescue. Folks can see examples at and can purchase originals either through the Grand Bohemian in Asheville or the Focal Point Gallery in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Naturally, I’m also available for special commissions, and I often work with designers to customize a piece to bring in elements of a room, include the family pet, etc.


Roya June is a freelance writer and Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing for H2RAD, the only truly green paint remover for even hard to remove paint such as graffiti, highway markings, etc. (For more information see


Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Written by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker