By Good News Network
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Julian got back in touch with Lucy a few years ago when he heard that she was battling Lupus, an auto-immune disease.
Now, a plaque commemorating the woman who inspired the Beatles' hit, will be placed in Liverpool in memory of Vodden who died in 2009 at age 46. (See the drawing below)
Following her death, Lennon became heavily involved with St Thomas' Lupus Trust, which commissioned the plaque, and he become the Lupus Foundation of America's Global Ambassador.
The video below was made for World Lupus Day May 10. Julian describes knowing Lucy and tells how her death inspired him to help raise money and awareness for the terrible disease, which affects millions.
This will take place alongside the launch of the 'Lucy Vodden Lupus Research Fellowship' a lupus research project in Lucy's name so all excess funds from the plaque will go towards that project.
Visit www.justgiving.com/Lucyintheskywithdiamonds to donate to the cause in honor of Lucy and Julian. All donors names will be listed in a commemorative book which will be kept in Liverpool.
For the full story about Lucy please visit our website: www.lupus.org.uk/patients/lucy.htm
Lauren Voiers, a self-taught, Cleveland, Ohio-based visual artist and painter, has established herself as an internationally recognized artist—at the age of 20. She is considered a prodigy: someone with a skill set or an ability that is incredibly accomplished, far beyond her years.
“I didn’t know if I was a child prodigy, but I hoped I was,” said Voiers. “I admired kids I saw on TV who were gifted and I wanted to be like them. Art has always been an obsession with me.”
Recognized as an art prodigy since she was in grade school, Voiers is the rarest of painting prodigies—mastering several styles ranging in variety from cubism and surrealism, to American traditionalism.
What is also rare is Voiers’ family history. She has several biological first-degree relatives with autism spectrum disorders, raising the question of whether there is a genetic link between autism and prodigy.
Joanne Ruthsatz, assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State’s Mansfield campus and a member of the Department of Psychology’s integrative neuroscience group, has set out to find the answer.
Joanne Ruthstaz and Lauren Voiers
“Not all child prodigies are autistic,” says Ruthsatz. “However, they are highly reliant on a similar set of skills as autistic savants.”
Ruthsatz began working with prodigies in 2003. She is currently tracking the lives of nine prodigies, ranging in age from six to 34 years old and accomplished in the fields of music, art, physics, and mathematics.
Over half of the child prodigies have one or more than one biological first- or second-degree relative with autism-spectrum disorder, and all of them scored higher than average on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) survey and significantly higher in attention to detail on the same survey.
The AQ is designed to evaluate the presence of autistic traits in individuals with normal intelligence. Previous research supports the AQ as a reliable and valid predictor of autistic traits found in the biological relatives of individuals with autism.
Nine case studies do not generally constitute a large population, until you consider the pool of prodigies in the country. There are estimated to be only 30 to 50 prodigies in the U.S.
“Prodigies are so rare,” explained Ruthsatz. “Child prodigies are diagnosed one in 10 million in the United States whereas autism-spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110 children in the United States.”
Until Ruthsatz began her study, much of what we know about prodigies came from observations of clinicians; case studies of prodigies were descriptive, not quantitative by nature. Ruthsatz is probing the prodigy mind from the inside, using tools like gene mapping and fMRI scans, and she has amassed the only cognitive data on prodigies available.
While investigating her first case study, a 6-year-old musical prodigy, Ruthsatz discovered that the young prodigy had a biological second-degree relative with autism spectrum disorders.
“It was truly an eye-opening moment for me, when I first began to suspect that there might be a genetic link,” said Ruthsatz.
In furthering her investigation of the possible link between prodigies and autism, Ruthsatz administered the AQ to the biological first-degree relatives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, the biological first-degree relatives of child prodigies, and the biological relatives of children without documented disabilities.
What she discovered was that the biological first-degree relatives of individuals with autism and the first-degree relatives of child prodigies scored significantly higher in attention to detail.
What is the Next Step?
“I am working with several researchers to compare the DNA between child prodigies and children with autism who have a savant skill,” said Ruthsatz. “If we can isolate the gene it can revolutionize our treatment for autism and other cognitive impairments along the autism spectrum.”
Voiers is one of the prodigies working with Ruthsatz who has volunteered to be part of a DNA test.
She is emphatic about wanting to be a part of helping find a treatment for her relatives who struggle with autism. “If I can contribute to helping them and others with autism, then I’ll do whatever I can.”
Ruthsatz also hopes that her research with prodigies will change the way that society thinks about them.
She is all too familiar with how popular culture portrays prodigies and is determined to set the record straight.
“Prodigies are portrayed as eccentric, socially awkward misfits pushed too hard by overbearing parents but that just isn’t the case.”
“They’re more mature than most, but in many ways they are just like their contemporaries. Most importantly, they love what they do and their passion is what propels them forward.”
In 2009, Voiers came up with an idea for a painting about the concept of world peace.
“Art has the power to change things for the better,” said Voiers. “I want my art to contribute to humanity’s progression and the way people think.”
She decided to incorporate a musical theme into her creation to reflect music as a common denominator among all people of the world. She named her painting Peace and Harmony.
Later, Voiers was asked to make the painting into a sculpture as part of the Global Peace Initiative, a project to erect seven distinct monuments, one on each continent, symbolizing the efforts of mankind to create a non-violent world of peace and harmony. The sculpture eventually evolved into an 18-foot tall metal and glass monument that was unveiled to the world in October 2010, on what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday.
“I love making art because I know what my purpose is—to beautify the world and encourage people to be kind to others,” said Voiers.
As a mark of the true impact of Voiers’ work, John Lennon’s son, Julian, asked Voiers to incorporate a white feather within the design of the Peace and Harmony sculpture, as a symbol of John Lennon’s spirit and of world peace.
Voiers and Ruthsatz are teaming up to produce a series of children’s illustrated picture books. The first in the series, Kate and the Grand Adventure, is due out next year. Voiers will be providing the illustrations for the book.
Friday, December 9, 2011
An international crowd gathered at the Peace & Harmony monument dedicated to Lennon at Kings Dock by the River Mersey. The event included a candlelight vigil and music from local musicians. The vigil marked only the second time that Liverpool has had a place for people to gather to celebrate the life of Lennon and his legacy of peace through his music, organizers say. The monument, sculpted by Lauren Voiers, was unveiled on Oct. 9, 2010, on the 70th anniversary of Lennon's birth by his first wife Cynthia Lennon and son Julian.
According to reports, the weather wasn't the best, but that didn't stop an impromptu jam session from taking place at the Beatles Story Starbucks cafe on the Albert Dock.
"Like last year's inaugural vigil, this has been a fitting tribute to a son of the city. The atmosphere at the 'Peace & Harmony' monument has been incredible with people from all over the world gathering to pay their respects and contemplate John's message of peace. Liverpool has once again done itself proud," said Jerry Goldman of Beatles Story museum, which sponsored the event.
Friday, October 28, 2011
ACC Liverpool has become the permanent home of a European Peace Monument dedicated to John Lennon.
The 18-foot sculpture, created by American artist Lauren Voiers, forms part of the global peace initiative which aims to position one sculpture of peace on each of the continents of the world.
The John Lennon Peace Monument now takes pride of place against the contemporary backdrop of ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre and its sister venue Echo Arena, which is set to play host to Paul McCartney, the greatest living Liverpool icon as he heads to his home town for a homecoming gig on 20th December.
Bob Prattey, CEO of ACC Liverpool, said: "We are very proud to have such a culturally important piece of art here at ACC Liverpool. John Lennon is a unique and enduring part of our city and it's fantastic that UK and International visitors to ACC Liverpool will be able to visit the monument whilst they are with us. Whether a fan of John or the Beatles or just a lover of art, the monument is a striking symbol of Peace and we are privileged to have given it a home."
Sunday, April 10, 2011
By Ron Vidika
Lorain Morning Journal
LAKEWOOD — At first glance, Lauren Voiers, of Lakewood, appears to be a normal, attractive 20-year-old young professional woman.
But looks can be deceiving.
On the surface, Voiers is a 2009 graduate of Westlake High School. Her father, Dr. Douglas Voiers, of Westlake, is a cosmetic dentist in Avon Lake. Her mother, Nancy, is a former critical care nurse who raised four children, Scott, 21; Lauren, 20; Stephanie, 15; and Sean, 13.
Voiers lives in her own apartment in Lakewood.
But what separates Voiers from her peers is her worldwide talent and fame.
On Oct. 9, 2010, the late John Lennon's 70th birthday, with Voiers present, her 18-foot-tall sculpture titled “Peace & Harmony” was officially dedicated in a ceremony in Liverpool, England, birthplace of Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, otherwise known as the Beatles.
“When Lauren was 3 years old, she exhibited high energy and a strong desire to express herself, as many kids do. But she was rather over the top in her desire to do so,” her father said.
“Once she had the opportunity to express herself artistically in a classroom setting, we saw things that were catching the eyes of teachers and seemed to be above her grade level. And this was when she was around 11 or 12,” he said.
The fact that she did not wish to attend college was a hard pill to swallow for her parents.
“It was not easy for us,” Dr. Voiers said. “Especially given the fact that her mom has a master's degree in critical care nursing and I have a doctoral and a master's degree. We're strong believers in education,” he said.
“But we felt she had to explore this avenue and would have the opportunity along the way to attend college. She's intelligent, high-spirited and creative and does not seek the path of least resistance,” Dr. Voiers said. “We encouraged her to follow her heart.”
Voiers said she entered a lot of art contests in grade school and did a lot of landscape paintings. When she was 14, Voiers entered an online art contest, on Flickr, with a painting she called “Sisters.”
“It came in third place on the website. Then, Ben Valenty, of Imaginart, stumbled across it and gave me a call ... two or three years later. Ben is a specialist in discovering young talent,” Voiers said.
“Ben said, 'We saw your painting and your artwork' and soon they began selling my art work while I was in high school,” Voiers said.
An art aficionado, Valenty is head of the Lake Forest, Calif.-based Imaginart, composed of publishers and distributors of fine art.
“Lauren conveys wide ranges of emotion in her work, from the depths of despair to the heights of elation,” Valenty said.
“With only six years under her belt, she works at the level of a master. It is a gift,” Valenty said.
Valenty said Voiers combines surrealism, cubism and expressionism in her art, working exclusively in oils.
What brought Lauren to the public eye was her work on a worldwide project created by Valenty, called the Global Peace Initiative.
The goal of the Initiative is to erect seven distinct monuments, one on each continent, symbolizing the efforts of mankind to create a non-violent world of peace and harmony.
Voiers provided Valenty with the European monument.
“I did get to meet Cynthia (Lennon's first wife and mother of Julian Lennon) while I was in Liverpool. She's very lovely, very nice,” Voiers said.
“Obviously, Julian is still involved with his music. He looks so much like his dad, it was kind of scary. He even has his dad's demeanor,” Voiers said.
While in Liverpool, Voiers got a chance to tour the favorite haunts of the Fab Four.
“I went to the Cavern where they first played as a group and got a private tour of John's childhood home,” Voiers said.
“The whole thing was an eye-opener. It showed how powerful Lennon's life was and how his music impacted the world. Liverpool is all about the Beatles. It was pretty amazing,” Voiers said.
When she first heard that her monument would be unveiled in Liverpool on Lennon's birthday, Voiers said, “It's a day I will never forget.”
“The phone call took place about several months in advance. My agent called me from Los Angeles to share the incredible news,” she said.
“My agent said he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Lennon and his mom, Cynthia. He told them about how I was in the process of creating my 'Peace & Harmony' sculpture and how the Global Peace Initiative was searching for somewhere in Europe to donate it,” Voiers said.
“ Then he told me that the people from the “Beatles Story Museum” want my sculpture to be placed permanently in Liverpool, England, the home of John Lennon and the Beatles. Not only that, but it was also to be placed in honor of John Lennon. I almost fell out of my chair.
“He then went on to explain that Julian asked if I could somehow incorporate a white feather into my sculpture,” Voiers said.
“Apparently, John Lennon told Julian that if he (Lennon) should pass away, he would send a message that he was OK in the form of a white feather. Julian told me when he was on a tour in Australia years ago, an aboriginal tribal elder presented him with a white feather,” Voiers said.
“Following Julian's request, I agreed to incorporate a white feather into my 'Peace and Harmony' monument,” she said.
“After I hung up the phone, it took me a moment to register the news I just received. I couldn't wait to call my family to tell them what just happened. I froze in my tracks when I looked down and saw a small white feather lying on my carpet in front of me,” Voiers said.
“I had never seen one in my apartment before and I did not recall seeing it before or during my phone conversation. I knew at that moment a message from John Lennon was sent to me,” Voiers said.
“To this day, I keep that white feather in a glass on top of my piano, just like John Lennon did when he composed music. I believe John Lennon's spirit is very much alive today, and whenever I look at my white feather, I feel his spirit and energy within me,” Voiers said.
On March 5, Voiers was invited to attend the 25th annual American Cancer Society Life Savers Ball held at DeLuca's Place in the Park in Lorain.
Co-chairpersons Dr. Alex and Maria Zolli welcomed Voiers' donation to the event, a 36-by-48-inch original oil painting titled, “White Feather,” that was featured in the live auction.
As for her next project, Voiers said she just returned from Los Angeles where she met with members of the Beverly Hills Fire Department.
“They have a charity ball coming up this summer and I'll be involved with that,” Voiers said.
Asked if she has any words of advice to other up-and-coming young artists, Voiers said, “I would say to find your niche and go for it and work as hard as you can, but have fun in the process.”
March 21, 2011
Lauren Voiers getting ready to speak
to the Lakewood Arts League
The Lakewood Arts League hosted Lauren Voiers in an evening presentation about her experiences in the art world. Topics covered ranged from her Global Peace Initiative monument installation in Liverpool to her art exhibits around the US. "I wanted to give them a sense of what is has been like growing up in the world as a young artist, the experiences and influences that have shaped my art," said Voiers.
February 19, 2011
March 5, 2011
The twenty-fifth American Cancer Society Life Savers Ball turned out nearly 400 of Cleveland's most ardent supporters at DeLuca's Place in the Park in Lorain last Saturday evening. The 2011 "Living Angel" honoree of the evening was seventy year old Wilbert Ray Noble, a prostate cancer survivor known throughout Ohio for his outstanding leadership and service in helping individuals deal with the most deadly cancer known to men.
Co-chairperson's Dr. Alex and Maria Zolli welcomed artist Lauren Voiers' donation to the event, a 36" x 48" original oil painting titled, White Feather, featured in the live auction.
Dr. and Mrs. Alex Zolli, Lauren Voiers
American Cancer Society Ball
High bidders Bill and Lesa DiCapua, Lauren Voiers
Lauren Voiers personal note to the DiCapua's
February 19, 2011
Looking much like a pro herself, Lauren Voiers appeared at the Northern Trust Open tournament at the Riviera Country Club to mix it up with members and pros in attendance. "I met some great people there. What a fantastic event and the Riviera is of course the best. Really looking forward to returning soon," said Voiers.
Lauren with golf pro Brad Faxon
Prominent Riviera CC Senior Member Frank Browning and Lauren
The Riviera Country Club
Would a Taylor Made club help my game?
February 17, 2011
Art students at the Yeshiva University of Los Angelos Girls High School were visited by Lauren Voiers. While attending the GRAMMY weekend festivities, Voiers spoke to the classroom of 20 aspiring young artists about the facts of life as a world renown art prodigy. "I was invited to come talk to the class about how I became an artist. They were very bright and asked excellent quesitons," said Voiers.
When asked what the most unique question asked, Voiers replied, "They were really curious about how I was first discovered at such a young age. I talked about the early influences of my art teachers and about the high school national art competitions were I was fortunate enough to win Gold Key awards. They asked what inspired me. I told them that for an artist, inspiration comes from being honest about feelings and using art to express. Try to create things that make you happy and make you grow. It's more than just technique, mainly it's the thought process that goes into your work of art. Honesty shows through your work 100%."
What attracted the most attention naturally was, the custom shoes with Lauren's own artwork emblazened on them. "They really got a kick out of my ICON shoes. But it also was an example of how once you become an artist you can branch off and do many other things besides your main art medium."
Lauren Voiers Interviewed on Fox News
on February 17, 2011
From USA TODAY
on February 12, 2011
|By Kevin Mazur, WireImage|
Prince, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences President Neil Portnow and Barbra Streisand were among the big names in music at Friday's MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute.
Her vocal equals? Not by miles.
The honor is bestowed annually by the Recording Academy charity to outstanding musicians for their artistic and philanthropic achievements. Proceeds from the fundraiser provide financial, medical and personal assistance for musicians in need.
Streisand, 68, sat with hubby James Brolin as a glittery parade of impressive singers took the stage in the Los Angeles Convention Center to tackle songs she made famous over the past half century.
Seal turned in a smooth version of the title track from her 1980 Guilt y album. British warbler Leona Lewis revived Somewhere. Pianist Herbie Hancock and Canadian jazz-popster Nikki Yanofsky, 17, teamed for On a Clear Day. And Tony Bennett charmed the packed house with a moving rendition of Smile.Click here for full article
February 12, 2011
Lauren Voiers made a splash at the Grammy Foundation's MusiCares annual Gala, seen mugging with singer Tony Bennett and Streisand's fellow broadway vet Kristen Chenowith. Voiers oil painting titled Barbra, was among the featured "Hot Tickets" auction items offered at the exclusive charity event.
|Barbra Oil on canvas 36" x 48"|
February 9, 2011
ICON designer shoes and handbags, one of the premier design houses in the US, has crafted a pair of custom shoes made from one of Lauren Voiers paintings. Voiers will wear her custom made shoes, which are based upon her painting titled Abstract II, to the GRAMMY MusiCares Gala event. The luxury brand, based out of Los Angeles, is known for their elaborate artistic images permanently printed onto top quality leather. ICON reproduces great works of art and pays royalties to each artist they license for their products.
| Barbra Streisand,
2011 MusiCares Person of the Year
Photo: Deborah Wald
February 8, 2011
MusiCares, a charitable arm of the GRAMMY Foundation, has selected Lauren Voiers unique painting titled Barbra, to be in their auction at the 21st annual benefit gala during the GRAMMY Awards weekend in Los Angeles. The 36" x 48" oil on canvas painting incorporates elements of the GRAMMY, MusiCares and Barbra Streisand images interlaced in colorful abstract form.Voiers work will be on display alongside an exclusive and unparalleled selection of luxury items, VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests. Stars of the music industry will be in attendance at the reception event, to be followed by a dinner, the award presentation and a tribute.
Artists scheduled to perform at the tribute include: Tony Bennett; singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth; members of the GRAMMY-nominated "Glee" cast Darren Criss, Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison; Herbie Hancock; Diana Krall; Barry Manilow; Donna Summer; Stevie Wonder; and artist Nikki Yanofsky. Streisand, a multi-GRAMMY-winning artist and current GRAMMY nominee, will close the evening with her own special performance. The event will be telecast live on the CBS Television Network at 8pm ET/PT.
Barbra Streisand — actress/singer/director/writer/composer/producer/designer/author/activist and eight-time GRAMMY winner, GRAMMY Legend Award and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient — is the honored guest as the 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year. She is recognized for her creative accomplishments as well as her philanthropic work, which has included an extraordinary range of charitable activities over the years.“Barbra Streisand is a genuine Renaissance woman, someone for whom artistry and philanthropy go hand in hand,” said Neil Portnoiw, president of MusiCares Foundation. The MusiCares Person of the Year gala is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week. The celebration culminates with the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on Sunday.
The unveiling of Lauren's European Peace Monument, Peace & Harmony, in honor of John Lennon was a remarkable moment in Liverpool's cultural history. Jerry Goldman of The Beatles Story Museum, said, "Lennon's message of peace is timeless and is one that is now more relevant than ever. We hope that this imposing monument dedicated to John will become a place that people from all over the world will visit to contemplate peace and John Lennon's contribution to it through his music."
Special Thanks to Art in Metal
The Peace & Harmony sculpture would never have happened if it were not for Lyle London and the folks at Art in Metal Studios in Phoenix, Arizona. They assisted me every step of the way from concept to engineering and 3-D CAD imaging to everything essential in fabrication services required to bring my sculpture to life. They even offer custom shipping and installation for larger scale sculptures like mine. Any artist seeking a high quality, reliable studio should seek out Lyle and his incredibly professional team.
Here is how you can contact them: http://www.artinmetalusa.com/services.html
Thanks so much,