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Center for Practical Bioethics What Would Be Your Wish for Our World?

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What would you wish for the world? More to the point, what would you wish for the world if you were an elder? Can you imagine what your grandmother or grandfather might wish?

That’s the question two Kansas City artists, Andy Newcom and Marn Jensen, asked older adults across the country. The 50 works of art that they created from those conversations will be exhibited at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Gallery in the Kansas City Crossroads from March 4 through May 27.

The Center for Practical Bioethics, a Kansas City-based nonprofit nationally recognized for its work in practical bioethics throughout the United States, has created an extraordinary fundraiser in conjunction with the art exhibition Art of the Wish. One of the center’s core values is to promote and protect the interests of those whose voices have not been heard or heeded, which Art of the Wish exemplifies.

“These incredible works of art and the stories that accompany each piece convey some of the same values as the Center for Practical Bioethics and in such a powerful, creative and impactful way. We are thrilled to be able to showcase the exhibition as part of our annual fundraiser,” said John G. Carney, president and CEO of the Center for Practical Bioethics. “We anticipate that everyone who experiences Art of the Wish will come away with a deeper appreciation for the wisdom of people who have lived long lives and the value of human connection. We also hope all of us will be able to turn those feelings into acts of listening, caring and kindness.”

Newcom and Jensen didn’t start the research for the exhibit with a question about naming a wish. Instead, they started with a request: Tell us about yourself. Tell us about your life. “We almost never had to ask what they wished for,” said Newcom. “They were just so happy to be with people who wanted to spend time with them. Their wishes would pour out.”

“I wish our most vulnerable were cared for.”

“I wish every home had a piano. Music fills your life with color.”

“I wish people wouldn’t care about material things. It’s just stuff.”

“I wish everyone had a good, dry martini within reach.”

“I wish people would smile back.”

The idea to create an exhibit based on “wishes” grew out of Newcom and Jensen’s very personal experiences in caring for older parents.

“When my father was showing signs of Alzheimer’s, our family wanted to keep him engaged in creative activities,” said Jensen. “We’d find these little sticks in the shape of a wishbone. We’d paint them and give them away for special occasions, for other people to make wishes on. One of the pieces is a tribute to my dad, and it got us to thinking about wishes and elders.” 

Newcom and Jensen spent time with a wide-ranging group of wishers, including an anthropologist, social worker, educator, librarian, musician, inventor, artist, clergy, homemaker, doctor, administrator, nurse, attorney and military service members, representing diverse ethnicities, socioeconomic levels, genders, sexual orientations, religions and geography. The overwhelming response to a private exhibition at Hallmark in 2017 inspired Newcom and Jensen to continue their work and create a public art exhibit.

Mary Carol Garrity, founder of Nell Hill’s home décor and furniture shop and longtime colleague of the artists, described herself as “totally changed” after seeing the private exhibit several years ago. “I am so excited that the public is going to have the opportunity to experience these works of art first hand because I know it will make a real impression,” Garrity said.

The Center for Practical Bioethics raises and responds to ethical issues in health and healthcare. The 38-year-old organization provides webinars, professional and student resources, events and experts on the application of ethics to the fields of population health, medicine and healthcare. Just a few of the topics include advance care planning, artificial intelligence in healthcare, human subjects research, living organ donation and end-of-life care. →

For more information about the Center for Practical Bioethics, please call 816-221-1100 or visit

Art of the Wish

An exhibit celebrating the wishes of elders

Thursday, May 12, 2022
Choose your session:
5:30 – 7:00 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. with dessert

Leedy-Voulkos Art Gallery
2012 Baltimore, Kansas City, MO

Starting at $100; 816-221-1100