The Rapidian Home

Local artists come together to give back

Friends pull together to help an active community member battle cancer
Underwriting support from:

Rockin' It for Sue Brown

Silent and Live Auction for Sue Brown

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Marc Stewart's Guesthouse at the Kopper Top

638 Stocking Avenue Northwest
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

4-8 p.m.

Admission: $25 or greater donation

Art auction, live music, cash bar

For more information, call Janice at (616) 813-5301

or visit Sue's CarePage


Sue with her longer hairstyle

Sue with her longer hairstyle /Lori Tennenhouse

Sue's new short style

Sue's new short style /Lori Tennenhouse

Sue Brown, one of the founders of the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus, and the ensemble's lead percussionist, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, leaving many members of the community wanting to help. Brown is expected to undergo a ten hour surgery, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy, which will lead to four or five months of limited activity. This weekend, an auction will take place to help Sue financially as she battles cancer.

Long-time friend Deborah Rockman said that although hearing the news of Brown's cancer was hard, there is still plenty of hope left. "I found hope in the knowledge that Sue is a very strong woman and a woman who will fight as hard as she can to survive." Rockman was asked to help organize the art auction aspect of the event. Collectively, there have been over 40 local artists to donate work on Brown's behalf. In addition to the live and silent auctions being held, there will be a cash bar and live music. Local musicians include Lauran Bittinger, Mechele Peters, Tory Trujillo, Jane Deyoung, Nancy Steltmann, Laura Armenta (dance) and Hawks and Owls.

Leslie Kohn, fellow member of the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus, has known Brown for 16 years. Kohn found out Brown has cancer just days after seeing her at a Women's Chorus rehearsal. To Kohn, "it took me completely off guard."

The response from the community has been huge, with an outpouring of support. "I feel overwhelmed at the response from the artists and other people who have donated goods and services. We have about 40-50 artists donating art and 40-50 others donating goods and services. So we have nearly 100 auction items," Kohn said. Artwork will include paintings, drawings and prints made by local artists.  

Local artist and current graduate student at Kendall College of Art and Design Phil Scally was approached to donate work for the auction and did not hesitate to contribute. "One of the most admirable attributes of the arts, especially the local arts, is the sense of community that has been created. I felt more than happy to contribute." Although Scally does not know Brown personally, this did not stop him from donating four pieces of artwork. "Donating the work to help out someone in need gives the work much more meaning than I ever could," said Scally.

Sue herself, as evidenced by her Spectrum Health CarePage, is still upbeat through it all. "I feel extremely blessed, honored and humbled by the generosity of all of you who are sending me positive energy, checking in on me, and those of you who are involved in organizing the fundraiser for me on July 24th." The fundraiser will hopefully raise money to help cover medical and living expenses throughout Brown's recovery. Rockman said the reason is simple, "She is a woman who has given so much and we just want to give back."

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.