Donate Life KY’s new art exhibit unveiled at UK Chandler Hospital

The Donate Life KY exhibit features portraits of local Black organ donors, donor families, recipients, and physicians

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/PRESS RELEASE)To help kick off the start of Donate Life Month in April, Donate Life KY and UK Arts in HealthCare have partnered to display the “Faces of Donation” exhibit at UK Chandler Hospital’s Hamilton Gallery through April 29. The Donate Life KY exhibit features portraits of local Black organ donors, donor families, recipients, and physicians, illustrated by Louisville artist and University of Kentucky graduate Charles Rice, creator of “ArtbyRice.” Each portrait represents someone in Kentucky who has been impacted by organ donation.

“We are so proud to be able to help raise awareness of the importance of organ donation through this creative initiative,” said Allen Gazaway, community educator with Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. “There are nearly 1,000 people on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ in Kentucky, and only 63% of Kentuckians are registered to be organ donors and help save lives. After the portraits are displayed at UK Transplant Hospital, they will then go on to be shown at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center, which we know will help us reach even more people in the Lexington area and help make organ donation an important topic of conversation among families.”

While Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates saw record-breaking numbers of organ donors in 2021, statistically, those within Black communities are less likely to register to become a donor. Organ donation is most successful if donors and recipients are among the same ethnicities, and in 2020, the Black community accounted for 28% of the U.S. transplant waiting list. This exhibit aims to raise awareness of the importance of becoming a donor and how individuals can save lives when joining the registry.

“Visual art is a powerful way to communicate. It affords us the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation through a different medium. The “Faces of Donation” exhibit exemplifies the old adage, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ When we see the faces of those individuals impacted by organ donation, we connect with them, and the message becomes much more meaningful,” said Jason Akhtarekhavari, Manager, UK Arts in HealthCare.

This “Faces of Donation” exhibit is the second phase of KODA’s recent multicultural “Be the One” campaign, aiming to raise awareness around organ donation and transplantation within Black communities throughout the state. Through these efforts, Donate Life KY has helped individuals from diverse backgrounds move past the potential hesitancies of becoming a registered donor and being “the one” who could help give the gift of life.

The “Faces of Donation” exhibit will be on display in UK Chandler Hospital’s Hamilton Gallery until April 29. On May 6, the exhibit will reopen to the public in the Meeting Room Gallery at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center in Lexington. The exhibit will close in Lexington on June 22.

To learn more about Donate Life KY, visit https://donatelifeky.org/.

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