Inspired by Wife’s Survival, Sculptor Shares the Gift of Art at The James

new-Robert Longhurst Sculpture OSUCCC-James

Masako Inamoto hustled out of the hospital after receiving a radiation treatment for her breast cancer.

“I was hurriedly going back to a classroom to teach as a graduate assistant,” Inamoto says of that sunny day in 2005. And then, she noticed a woman. She had a scarf wrapped around her head and was obviously a cancer patient. The woman was staring up at “Statue of Hope,” the large bronze work of art outside the hospital, a big smile etched across her face.

“I don’t know why her smile touched me so much, but I think she had that beautiful smile on her face because she could sense the hope that the sculpture was offering,” Inamoto says.

Inamoto’s husband, the noted wood sculptor Robert Longhurst, will inspire and bring hope to numerous patients as one of the featured artists in the new James Art Gallery at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

His works are currently displayed in the hospital’s art gallery, and will remain there through May 24.

“It was a life-saving experience for us,” Longhhurst says of the treatment his wife received under the care of William Carson, MD. “And, every once in a while, she’d say that if she ever hit the lottery, she’d give a million dollars to The James.”

While hitting it big in the lottery hasn’t happened (yet), Longhurst and Inamoto decided that they could give something different back to The James and its patients—they would donate beauty.

“I believe in the power of good art works and I truly hope that my husband’s pieces will offer cancer patients, their friends and family members some peace, hope [and] tranquility in their hearts,” Inamoto says.

The couple, who live on a farm in upstate New York, have previously donated one of the sculptor’s works, “Alicia,” to The James, where it’s currently displayed in the administration suite.

“To enjoy the beauty around you every day is what’s truly important,” Longhurst says.

Longhurst specializes in immaculately-crafted wood sculptures full of swoops and curves that make them seem as though they are alive and about to take flight.

“Columbus and The James are near and dear to our heart,” Longhurst says.

And so is Dr. Carson.

“He was truly a caring and encouraging person, and I consider myself so fortunate to have had him as my surgical oncologist,” Inamoto says. “He is one example of one of the numerous people who were so kind to me at The James.”