After leading for 10+ years, Living Proof Exhibit executive director to step down on Oct. 29

Local News

Pamela Crouch of Moline is stepping down as executive director of Living Proof Exhibit, a nonprofit that helps people touched by cancer, which she co-founded in 2010.

After leading Living Proof Exhibit since its inception in 2010, including the last seven years as executive director, Pamela Crouch is stepping down, effective Oct. 29.

During Crouch’s tenure, Living Proof Exhibit has touched the lives of nearly 30,000 people, providing hope, support, and healing to cancer patients and survivors and their families, loved ones, and caregivers.

“Pamela drew from her passion and life experience to launch this organization, which has gone on to
reach thousands of people impacted by cancer,” LPE board president Amy Jones said Tuesday. “Living Proof Exhibit has grown immensely under her leadership, and we are grateful to her for sharing her vision with all of us.”

The nonprofit’s programming (provided both virtually and in person), now reaches people throughout the U.S. The annual exhibition, “A Visualization of Hope,” which features art created by cancer survivors within a 200-mile radius of the Quad Cities, just concluded its 2021 showing at the Bisignano Gallery at the University of Dubuque’s Heritage Center and will be presented at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport in 2022.

February 2022 will also mark the long-awaited debut of “Karkinos,” an original opera produced in partnership with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra that tells the story of QC residents who have been impacted by cancer.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served so many people as executive director of Living Proof
Exhibit,” said Crouch. “I believe the organization is in good hands for the future, and I am excited to see
where it goes from here.”

Succeeding Crouch as executive director is Jordan Kirkbride of Rock Island. Kirkbride majored in art history at Augustana (graduating in 2014) and has served as LPE’s programming manager since October 2020.

Jordan Kirkbride, Living Proof’s programming manager for the past year, will become the new executive director.

A lifelong lover of the arts, and one whose family has been impacted by cancer, Kirkbride felt an
immediate connection to the organization and its participants.

“This work is some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done,” she said Tuesday. “I’m so grateful for the time I spent working with Pamela and feel lucky to have the opportunity to continue to bring our programming to those who need it most.”

“With Jordan’s previous experience working with our programming, we know that she will bring the knowledge and passion needed to continue expanding our outreach,” said Jones. “We are excited to have her leading us through this next phase for Living Proof Exhibit.”

Among Crouch’s accomplishments with LPE, she listed:

  • By holding the “Visualization of Hope” exhibition at art museums, we were able to reach a wider audience, with attendance ranging from 5,000 to 6,000.
  • We created art-to-go projects to meet the needs of people touched by cancer who couldn’t attend a session, were hospitalized, or lived in rural areas, enabling them to experience the healing power of the arts whenever they needed it. These projects include bilingual programs aimed at reaching more diverse communities. Every year, these projects reach 1,000 people.
  • We created a new program to reach patients receiving infusion treatments. Our partnership with the Figge Art Museum brought virtual docent-led tours of the art at the museum to patients at both Genesis and UnityPoint cancer centers. The stories of the lives changed and the impact of this program are indeed inspirational.
  • We developed new partnerships with other nonprofits. Midwest Writing Center continues to bring thoughtful writing programs to our sessions. The Quad City Botanical Center not only provides space for programming, they also help us to create large projects like the flowerpots that people touched by cancer painted, the QCBC planted, and guests of the QCBC enjoyed all summer in 2020.
  • The Quad City Symphony Orchestra partnered to commission an original opera, Karkinos, written by Augustana’s Jacob Bancks. This wonderful event will take place in 2022 and tells the story of so many people who have been touched by cancer.
  • The Figge continues to support our programming and make a difference in the lives of people touched by cancer. Thanks to our many community partners, we are able to share our mission and impact with many more people than ever before.
  • We’ve also found partners across the nation. Our Make Hope Soar birdhouse project created a strong partnership with Methodist Senior Services in Chicago. That partnership will continue to grow and help even more people touched by cancer as they create and receive painted birdhouses. Our connections to Livestrong and to the Creative Center in New York continued to grow as we learned from each other and found ways to connect.
  • Our virtual programs have reached people throughout the U.S., and even our first international participant. These sessions started simply, with me teaching them in my home during the pandemic, and have grown to be led by our first new hire, our programming manager.

“All of this growth and these many changes have set up Living Proof Exhibit to continue to thrive,” Crouch said. “Throughout it all, the most important part of what we do is the impact we have on the people we serve: Mike, Judy, Kent, Gina, Marla, Dan, and thousands more. The stories they share about how Living Proof Exhibit has given them hope are what I will carry with me.”

For more information about Living Proof Exhibit and its programming, visit livingproofexhibit.org.

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