The Joan Hisaoka “Make a Difference” Gala is held annually in September. Smith Center for Healing and the Arts has been a fortunate recipient of The Joan Hisaoka Gala for the past thirteen years. This event raises funds that support organizations that assist those living with cancer.

Our dedicated board member, Robert Hisaoka, created this event in his sister’s name. Joan Hisaoka attended Smith Center’s Living Well with Cancer Program in 2008 and passed away shortly after. She was so affected by her experience, finding the tools she learned in coping with her cancer so profoundly useful, that she herself wanted to help others. With this wish, Robert created the Gala to carry on her legacy.

We are pleased to announce that the 14th Annual Joan Hisaoka Gala – Assisting those Living with Cancer will be held on September 18, 2021.

Now in its fourteenth year, the gala has raised about $17,500,000 for cancer support services in our area. This black tie event will attract close to 500 philanthropists from the Washington, DC business community and features a four-course dinner, as well as a reception, dancing, and silent and live auctions with exclusive luxurious items.

Over 20,000 people in Washington, DC currently live with cancer. Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is the only independent cancer support organization serving the DC cancer community. As one of two recipients of the evening, Smith Center receives major support for our daily programs that include support groups, stress reduction, nutrition workshops, cancer retreats, individual patient navigation services and other healing resources.

We are honored to be a beneficiary and to continue our life enhancing programs for people with cancer in Joan’s honor.

To learn more about this fabulous annual event, please visit: or contact Selvana Awad,, 202.483.8600 to learn how to become a sponsor or to purchase tickets through Smith Center.

Sponsor Information

Thank you for generously supporting Smith Center through this event! 




An Update from Smith Center

September 28, 2020

Please check out our program calendar for virtual programming.

If you need assistance or support, please call us at 202-483-8600 or

In service,


April 3, 2020

The Smith Center and Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery will remain closed for the continued safety of our community and staff.

Please check out our program calendar for virtual programming for April and May.

If you need assistance or support, please call us at 202-483-8600 or

In service,


March 22, 2020

As we continue to monitor this situation, Smith Center and the Joan Hisaoka Gallery will be closed until April 15 for the continued safety of our community and staff.

Stay tuned for emails about virtual programming!!

Reach out if you need assistance at 202-483-8600 or

In service,

March 12, 2020

To Our Smith Center Family,

In deep consideration of always doing what best serves our beloved community, we are announcing today that the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts will cease all programming and the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery will be closed from Thursday, March 12 through Tuesday, March 31.

The recent announcement made by the World Health Organization made it clear to us that as much as we love having our SC community here with us creating art, soothing their spirit with yoga or visiting the gallery, we could not delay taking the next level of action any longer.  Our true responsibility is to hold sacred the care and well-being of all who come through our doors and it was with that intent that we have made this difficult, yet necessary decision.

These are unprecedented times and we know that Smith Center is a place of respite and calm.  We want to reassure you that we are still here for you and if you need a listening ear or need to talk, please reach out to our patient navigation team or you can reach us at

While our programming in the physical space is on hold, we are exploring ways to continue to convene together via Zoom or other video technology and will update when appropriate.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will update our timeline for resuming programming with the continued focus on the well-being of our community and the Smith Center staff.

We are keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers and please take gentle care of yourselves.

In service,


Breathing in Wellness: A 4-part Mindfulness & Meditation Educational Series

developed by Matthew Grossman

Developing mindfulness skills can help combat stress, anxiety, and uncertainty in everyday life. This series explores meditation & mindfulness skills and explores four core meditation practices.

Session topics include:

  • Session 1: Sitting Meditation is one of the core practices of Mindfulness Meditation. It combines aspects of physical body positioning, calming breathing practices, and directing the mind’s awareness in order to achieve a balanced and natural sense of relaxation.


  • Session 2: Body Scan involves focused and nonjudgmental awareness and acceptance to specific parts of the body in sequential order (head, neck, chest, abdomen, etc.). This promotes awareness of both positive and negative sensations in the body while keeping the Sitting Meditation component of awareness of thoughts.


  • Session 3: Visual Meditation/Guided Imagery is a practice which involves imagining yourself in a relaxing, healing, stimulating place. This practice can be used to relax the body and mind, improve daily functioning, and facilitate healing through the use of attention and imagination.


  • Session 4: Loving-kindness Meditation begins with generating a feeling of love and acceptance towards yourself and emanates outward to others around you with whom you have positive or negative feelings towards, and even to those whom you do not know. Through the use of a mantra, this practice softens the mind and the heart and builds empathy and wellness.


Session 1: Sitting Meditation

Sitting Meditation Script

Sitting Meditation Handouts/Resources

Session 2: Body Scan

Body Scan Meditation Script

Body Scan Handouts/Resources

Session 3: Visual Meditation/Guided Imagery

Visual Meditation Script

Visual Meditation Handouts/Resources

Session 4: Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-Kindness Meditation Script

Loving-Kindness Meditation Handouts/Resources


Copyright 2018, Matthew Grossman (2018)