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Hope Lives: Art for ALS poster featuring artwork by Rinat Goren, titled "The Greeting."

The 2nd Hope Lives: Art for ALS exhibition was in May 2023. Melissa Stephens continued to follow her passion for the arts while hosting a month long event that promoted ALS education and donated to ALS research. 

Participating artists are members of an all encaustic and cold wax group that Melissa co-founded in 2023 called NorCAL Wax. Three other artists who had their own experiences with ALS were also included in the show. 


Melissa curated an exhibition with a theme focusing on the Affirmations of the 7 Chakras. She thought that the placement of the chakras was eerily similar to the neuro-connective highway that is affected by ALS. Melissa also selected this theme because of the power of positive visualization and thinking.


The exhibition featured artwork by: Karen Buttwinick, Kim Cardoso, Victoria Drake, Mort Cohn, Susan Erickson, Ken Gold, Rinat Goren (poster),Claudette McDermott, Dee Tivenan, Melissa Stephens and Mira M. White. 

There were 5 separate events in addition to 2 videos that were part of the exhibition. The events were a(n): gallery opening reception, wine tasting, ekphrastic poetry reading, in-gallery mediation & movement classes, raffle drawings and ALS Education Day. 


This is a sampling of the artwork from the 2023 Hope Lives: Art for ALS exhibition. It includes acrylic paintings, encaustic paintings, mixed media and ceramic sculpture. Click on the image for a larger view and access to each artist's website.


Melissa created an Affirmation Wall that held more than 100 messages of acceptance, encouragement and emotional support for visitors to take with them after their visit to the gallery. Noah Ongart, the ALS Association Golden West Chapter's Assistant Director of Community Outreach and Jenica Lancy, the ALS Association Golden West Chapter Director of Marketing & Communications were in attendance. Melissa Stephens shared a few words about why she started the Hope Lives exhibition. She also talked about her sister, Lynn, and her journey with ALS. 

Videos were included in the Hope Lives: Art for ALS exhibition. There was a video of Melissa's sister talking about her journey with ALS. In "Life Is A Gift, Love Is the Point " Lynn and her husband, Gino, talk about how their faith helps them as they navigate ALS. Lynn's messages are from the heart. Melissa hopes that you will listen closely to her and take her message with you.

The other video is of Brooke Eby. Melissa met Brooke through TikTok, and continues to watch her amazing journey from that and other social media platforms like Instagram. Brooke has since been interviewed on the Today Show and has received several awards for her straightforward, oftentimes humorous and candid social media commentaries about ALS and her journey with it. Watch her video below.

Melissa Stephens poses with a friend who purchased one of her encaustic paintings.
Melissa Stephens created an affirmation wall from which visitors could take messages of inspiration and advocacy.
Melissa Stephens met many wonderful people navigating ALS at the Hope Lives: Art for ALS events.
Melissa Stephens poses with the ALS Association, Golden West Chapter's Asst. Director of  Outreach and Director of Communications.


Lloyd Davis, from Corner 103 Wines, introduced viewers to his delicious wines and wine experiences in Sonoma. He walked people through his signature tasting techniques.


While visitors enjoyed sipping Corner 103 wines, artist's shared information about their artwork, art tools, media and inspiration for the exhibition.

Hope Lives: Art for ALS exhibitions are open each May at the San Francisco Women Artists Gallery (SFWA) on Irving Street & 8th Ave. One block from Golden Gate Park, SFWA is committed to a core belief in the transformative power of art. The Gallery showcases emerging and established Bay Area artists and artisans.

Please help us thank the people, organizations and businesses that helped to make the 2022 Hope Lives: Art for ALS a success.

Lloyd Davis, from Sonoma's Corner 103 Tasting Room on Napa Street gave visitors a lesson in tasting his magnificent wines.


Ekphrastic poetry is prose inspired by works of art. Melissa invited 5 poets to write about the artwork in the Hope Lives: Art for ALS exhibition. Each poet selected 1 or 2 paintings or sculptures, then shared their work with visitors at the Gallery. The artists and other viewers appreciated and enjoyed their live readings. It was another wonderful way to appreciate the artwork.

Poets included: Dean Rader, Sarah Rosenthal, Peter Kline, Brittany Perham and Kim Shuck.

Melissa Stephens guided visitors through a step-by-step wine tasting at the San Francisco Women Artists Gallery

Visitors sipped their way through the wonderful world of Sonoma's Corner 103 wines. Dark chocolates and cheeses added to the flavor profiles. 

Poets wrote poems that they wrote inspired by the artists' work from 2023 Hope Lives: Art for ALS.

Poets presented their prose, which was inspired by the artwork hanging in the Hope Lives: Art for ALS exhibition.

Gift baskets containing art, wine and chakra themed items were raffled off to raise money for ALS research.

Gift baskets containing art, wine and chakra themed items were raffled off to raise money for ALS research.

ALS Association Golden West Chapter red and white logo
The San Francisco Women Artists Gallery believes the creative and transformative power of artists inspires us, provides needed insight, and connects the human family.
Corner 103 is crafting limited production, award winning, wines that are very approachable and showcase the  best qualities of the region in which they grow.
NorCAL Wax members live and work in Northern California, with the majority of artists working in the Bay Area and Sacramento. The NorCAL Wax Chapter is a group of like minded artists looking to engage and share their artistic journeys with each other and their communities.
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