Judy F. Minkove
Date: February 4, 2010
Employees jump at chance to tap into their creativity
Two years ago, as the new Hackerman-Patz Patient and Family Pavilion was under construction for out-of-town families needing oncology treatment, cancer center administrator Terry Langbaum fretted that there would be bare walls begging for artwork. She knew, however, that funds for such things had dried up.
Then Langbaum remembered a conversation she’d had with Michael Hibler, oncology development officer at the Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine. He reminded her about art collector Leonard Andrews, a Hopkins cancer patient, donor and founder of the National Arts Program Foundation, which sponsors corporate art contests. Why not host a contest, suggested Hibler, and ask participants to consider donating their work to the patient pavilion?
So Hibler and Langbaum met with Andrews at his gallery in Delaware. And so began the Johns Hopkins inaugural National Arts Program Exhibit and Awards contest. Within days of a call for entries, hundreds of employees institution-wide responded, many of whom opted to donate their pieces to the center after the exhibit, on display in Turner Concourse. Thanks to those employees’ generosity, framed photos and paintings now grace the pavilion’s walls, providing homey touches to guests forced to deal with medical crises.
So successful was the first contest that this year “we did it again simply because it’s a great opportunity to showcase Hopkins talent,” says Amanda Klass, guest services coordinator for oncology patient services, who is overseeing the project. In fact, there was such a large response to the call for entries that they had to cut submissions off at 300.
Once more, Turner is exploding with color and creativity. There’s something for everyone among the artworks: rich florals; a photo of the Austrian Alps, taken from a ski lift; a marble relief of an anesthesiologist cradling a newborn; a haunting self-portrait in oils.
The contest, which opened to employees and their family members last December with a reception and awards ceremony, doles out first- second- and third-place prizes in five artistic categories, from youngsters to adults in amateur, intermediate and professional levels.
In the amateur category, Hopkins Hospital Pathology software engineer Jim Doran won first place for his mixed-media piece, The Mystery of the Loaves and Fishes, a three-dimensional nautical scene that he created in an old drawer he discovered in his attic.
“These projects provide balance,” says Doran. “I always come back to work refreshed.” Doran’s wife, a professional artist, and their two daughters also submitted artwork. Doran used the award money to purchase a notebook computer, which “gives me a jumpstart on my Hopkins work during my commute in.”
Professional artist Christopher Winslow, whose wife, Patricia, is a pediatric emergency department nurse, nabbed the $300 first prize and best of show for his compelling oil painting, Luke. Inspired by a commissioned work he completed of Washington crossing the Delaware, Winslow asked Luke, one of the reenactors, to pose as a wounded soldier staring out a window.
“I find inspiration in trying to capture a moment in an imagined life of an imagined past,” says Winslow, “the monumental and mundane moments never recorded. These glimpses provoke very strong images that I need to paint.”
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Pamela Paulk, Hopkins Hospital vice president for human resources, noted the breadth of talent: “We’re used to seeing people do their everyday jobs. Who knew about how well they express themselves outside of their work? Clearly, everyone is a winner for creating it and sharing it.”
The exhibit runs through Feb. 10. Selected works by Hopkins artists can be found at nationalartsprogram.org.