MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Ian Cion, the director of the Arts in Medicine Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said:
"We are very much looking forward to staying in contact with Russian partners. We want to keep these conversations going and keep these relationships building. We feel like this visit was a very wonderful first connection."
Cion, together with NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, held two master classes for Russian cancer patients on hand-painting the pieces for a full-sized NASA space suit replica on September 5-6 in Moscow. The events were organized by the Rainbow Art Studio of Eurasian Cancer Foundation (EACF).
"I hope that this project will help solidify the relationships that will allow us [to] keep making wonderful things together whether it’s space suits, space habitats, or other projects where we are sharing and building things together," Cion noted, adding "I am open to other space suits, but I am also open to other things that we can build together."
"We are all excited what we can do to help support patients going through cancer treatments, to help build bridges between the astronauts and community," he said.
The Space Suit Art Project was launched by Stott and Cion to demonstrate the benefits of arts and science for adults and children fighting cancer. The patients are tasked with hand-painting fabric patterns, which are then stitched together into wearable replica spacesuits by the ILC Dover space suit manufacturer.
Prior to the visit to Russia, Stott and Cion painted with cancer patients in the United States and Germany. Their next stop will be in Japan.
Cion said that once Unity is completed and Courage returns from the space station, all three suits will be exhibited in the countries that participated in creation of the third suit.
"We would like to share it with people in the hospitals," he said. "We certainly hope to share the works with the countries and the cities who have helped make suit number three. Certainly in Houston. We would like to go back to Cologne, to Moscow, to Tokyo, and to Montreal."
Cion noted that they had already started discussions with the Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow about organizing an exhibition of the suits, with the museum being "very excited" to display them.
On Tuesday, the patients of the EACF and Podari Zhizn Foundation (Gift of Life) and their families, as well as doctors, nurses, psychologists, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko painted the art pieces for the NASA suit at the Museum of Cosmonautics.