Art Class for Cancer Patients Celebrates 20 Year-Anniversary

Mar 13, 2020, 13:30 PM by Nicole Young

Ridley-Tree Cancer Center at Sansum Clinic is honoring local artist and art instructor Rick Stich, as he celebrates his 20th year of service to cancer patients. He’s helped hundreds find a means of creative expression and relaxation during their cancer journey in his weekly “Painting the Pictures of Health” sessions. “Many patients tell me they have never been to an art class. It is great to see them come in, switch the channel, paint and laugh and find out they can produce a beautiful and original picture. What a joy it is to watch people light up that way. It has been a great joy and privilege to come and paint with patients interested in exploring their creativity,” comments Rick, whose own impressive pieces of art have been exhibited in local museums, galleries and private collections. 

Many paintings created in Rick’s class are featured in the reception areas on all three floors of RidleyTree Cancer Center. Patient art will also be displayed in the newly-modernized Nuclear Medicine Department in 2020.  These revolving exhibits are a constant source of hope, comfort and inspiration for patients, their families and visitors. The free art class is funded by the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara and is rooted in current research which shows these kinds of therapies play an important and meaningful healing role. “This class lets patients and caregivers relieve some stress and anxiety and  forget about cancer for a while,” notes Matt Kunkel, Vice President of Oncology Services. “What Rick does is truly amazing and the patient art that hangs on our walls brings me personal joy every day when I walk through the doors.” 

Rick’s encouragement and  support of patients not only provides them a distraction from their disease, it lets them connect with one another in a positive atmosphere.  “Rick’s class is a safe environment where all can come and explore their creative side. Everyone is a talented painter in there and he gushes over what people produce. It is sincere, from his heart and they feel it. Patients often tell me Rick is an important part of their care team here,” says Lisa Winebrenner, Wellness Programs Director.  

For more information on the art class at Ridley-Tree Cancer Center or its entire array of Wellness Programs, call (805) 879-5678 or visit: