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May 07, 2004

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, May 07, 2004

A touch of glass A touch of glass (May 07, 2004)

Glass art exhibit to benefit the Future Brain Cancer Institute

by Jaime Marconette

This Saturday, the Farmer's Market will not be the only place in town selling fruits, vegetables and flowers. And unlike produce from the market, the alternatives possess a remarkable trait -- they will last forever.

The Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI), along with the nonprofit Future Brain Cancer Institute of Palo Alto, will exhibit and sell glass fruits, vegetables and flowers. More than 600 glass works by artists Kala Kirkman, MG Walker, Greg Small, Deva and Bobby Bowes will be included in the collection. The "Save Your Brain For Glass" exhibit, which runs through May 17, will be held at the cancer institute's new office in downtown Palo Alto.

In addition to "produce," the exhibit will also include more traditional glass bowls and vases, as well as mixed-media works that incorporate glass and metal. Most pieces range in price from $25-$125; all proceeds will benefit the Future Brain Cancer Institute.

"We'd like to raise $100,000," said Meredith Warshaw, co-founder of the Future Brain Cancer Institute.

Warshaw, a neuro-endocrinologist, founded the institute in June 2003 with her daughter, Elizabet Warshaw-Vickery, after losing her husband to brain cancer. The institute offers a centrally located community office where people diagnosed with a brain tumor and their loved ones can find information and support.

While attending a farmer's market last year, Warshaw discovered the space, which previously housed the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, was available for rent. Coincidentally, an apartment within the building served as her first home 20 years ago, when she and her husband, Dr. Brian H. Vickery, moved to Palo Alto from Chicago. The institute moved to its present location last December.

Warshaw's daughter is a driving force behind the institute. Among other things, the Palo Alto High School sophomore created the logo and writes proposals for the institute.

The institute has one student intern and 20 volunteers, most of whom are brain-cancer patients. Warshaw recruits those diagnosed with brain cancer to build a support structure for those in need.

"You have [patients] at home getting depressed," Warshaw said. "We're helping them to mainstream back into a meaningful existence."

Brain Cancer afflicted 190,000 people in 2003, but research remains under-funded. Warshaw hopes to raise awareness and money for research, while providing a supportive community to those affected by the disease.

Volunteer and publicist Ellen Dubois arranged a meeting between Warshaw and Bowes, a founding member of the Bay Area Glass Institute, in March to discuss the possibility of partnership.

"I was inspired by her dedication and passion for the cause," Dubois said. "Here is this woman who is single-handedly starting this institute."

Both Warshaw and Bowes were very excited about the opportunity to collaborate for the cause. The discussion resulted in the partnership between BAGI and the Future Brain Cancer Institute.

"We're looking to make this an annual event," said Bowes, who is also responsible for the glass pumpkin patch at the Palo Alto Art Center each October. "We hope to bring awareness to the new institute and gain public support."

Public support and funding is vital for research, Warshaw explained. The government provided $111 million in 2003, but much more is needed for further investigation.

Warshaw is currently negotiating with the UCSF Medical Center to create a partnership for research, to understand why brain tumors develop and how to develop a cure. A portion of the funds raised through the art exhibit will support this venture, as well as her Palo Alto headquarters.

"I want to make the institute a central place for information and support," Warshaw said." Editorial intern Jaime Marconette can be reached at [email protected]

What: "Save Your Brain For Glass" exhibit, a sale of hundreds of glass fruits, vegetables and flowers

Where: Future Brain Cancer Institute, 325 Forest Ave. (between Waverly and Bryant Streets) in Palo Alto

When: May 5-17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An artists' reception will be held this Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. and will feature wine and hors d'oeuvres.

Cost: Admission to the event is free. Proceeds of all sales will benefit research and community support at the Future Brain Cancer Institute.

Info: Please call (650) 328-7900 or visit

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