The Art of Caring
What: "The Art of Caring"
Where: PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, 2901 Squalicum Pkwy.
WHEN: Opening reception at 5pm Thurs., Jan. 31; the exhibit shows through March 30
Cost: Entry is free; please RSPV to attend the opening
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Nine years ago, the first “Healing through Art” exhibition at Bellingham’s PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital proved that medical personnel weren’t the only ones capable of helping patients and their loved ones on the journey to wellness.
Curator Linda Gardner says that initial display—which featured works by iconic Pacific Northwest painter and sculptor Guy Anderson—was the stepping stone to a successful series that started when a member of the PeaceHealth board asked her to help bring fine art to the hospital in an attempt to brighten otherwise dull spaces and create a healing environment for patients, visitors and staff.
“Many people loved the show, but there were some who called into question the appropriateness of pieces which included nudity,” Gardner says.
“I love the memo that then went out to all medical center caregivers from the Chief Executive at the time. It included these lines: ‘I love seeing pharmacists, housekeepers, nurses and visitors standing together talking about how they feel about a painting. I love that we are talking, and that the paintings will change and that we will have continuing opportunities to have conversations about the art on the wall.’”
Nearly a decade later, those dialogues around the bimonthly art shows have continued, the hospital’s permanent art collection has expanded in a big way, and many of the region’s major artistic talents have shown their work in the hallways, cafes, waiting rooms and entryways of PeaceHealth.
When the “Art of Caring” opens Thurs., Jan. 31 with a reception in the hospital’s Grounds and Grains Cafe, the event will bring home the sheer amount of talent that has gone into the “Healing Through Art” series.
The group show will feature works by 33 regional fine artists who have previously participated in the program—including (deep breath) Chuck Bankuti, Gerald Baron, Susan Bennerstrom, Lloyd Blakeley, Jane Burns, Nancy Canyon, R. R. Clark, Douglas Clark, Annie Howell Adams, Mary Ennes Davis, Caryn Friedlander, Trish Harding, Jenny Jansen, Sandra Lepper, Lorna Libert, Lanny Little, Dana Mattson, Steve Mayo, Ann Morris, Terry Nelson, Dave Nichols, Jim Orvik, Lynne Oulman, James Lapp, Jim Papp, Ron Pattern, Alan Sanders, David Scherrer, Cathy Schoenberg, Barbara Sternberger, Robin Wassong, E. V. Wick, and Thomas Wood.
“The artists who have shown at the medical center believe in the importance of contributing to the culture of our community,” Gardner says. “They have been positive and generous in their participation in the exhibits. It is clear that they realize the importance of fine art in the hospital setting and the effect it has on our community.”
Additionally, Gardner points out, the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Foundation and a number of generous donors have provided the financial support that has made the program possible and helped expand the permanent collection.
The “Art of Caring” shows through March 30, so if a planned surgery or an unforeseen accident doesn’t bring you through the doors of PeaceHealth by that date, make sure and get to the hospital before then to peruse and possibly purchase the works.
“It is exciting to see such an abundance of talent in one show,” Gardner says. “Due to the unusually large number of featured artists, this is a major opportunity for the community to get a taste of the many artists that our region enjoys.”
Please note that the image by painter Dale Gottlieb in the print version of this story will not be available for sale at the “Art of Caring” exhibit. The work belongs to the hospital, and is in their permanent collection.
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