Art of the matter: Exhibition lets employees shine

September 15, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

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For some at UMHS, the annual employee art exhibition is an opportunity to share their talents with a broader audience. For others, the show is a welcome distraction from the rigors and stress that can sometimes accompany the daily health care routine.

No matter the perspective, the Gifts of Art exhibition serves as an annual highlight to many of the talented and creative members of the UMHS community.

“We know our staff as doctors, nurses and professionals,” said Beverly Santiago, assistant to the UMHS chief operating officer. “But we’re all so much more than that. I marvel at what our colleagues can create.”

Santiago, who did not submit artwork, stopped by the first floor of Taubman Center south to get a sneak peek at the exhibition. It officially opens to everyone at UMHS on Monday, Sept. 19.

“I block off time every year to come look at the art,” Santiago said. “It’s just such a lovely distraction.”

This year, Gifts of Art received 114 submissions from 72 employee artists or family members. The work encompasses multiple categories, including photography, painting, digital art, jewelry and 3-D creations.

Kathi Talley, visual arts coordinator for Gifts of Art, said the show, now in its 29th year, is always a hit. “It allows people to shine in another way outside of their regular jobs,” Talley said. “Some employees have given us artwork for the past decade … they truly look forward to it.”

Among this year’s highlights is a drawing of a “Pokemon” by 10-year-old Luke Kozak, the grandson of UMHS nurse Theresa Sirrine and a patient at Mott.

Other work includes a Flamenco oil painting by Lona Mody, M.D., professor of internal medicine, and a large acrylic painting of a fairy castle by Lynn Hubrecht, unit host on 12W at Mott.

“Every year it’s kind of like Christmas,” said Elaine Sims, director of Gifts of Art, about the day her program begins accepting artwork. “You never know what’s going to come through the door.”

Sims said her program has several goals, including giving employees an outlet for their creativity and providing a comfortable atmosphere for staff members and patients alike. “We’re kind of like our own small town or community,” Sims said. “The artwork is soothing for our patients, staff and visitors who are all in this tense, high-stakes environment. It helps us create an atmosphere most beneficial to healing.”

If you would like to see the employee art exhibition, it will be on display during normal visiting hours in the Gifts of Art Gallery — Taubman Health Center South Lobby, Floor 1, from Sept. 19 until Dec. 11.

Visitors will be able to vote for their favorite pieces and artists will be recognized with various awards at a ceremony on Oct. 26. The event is open to all employees.

Click here for more information on Gifts of Art and the employee art exhibition. And see above for a sneak preview of the artwork set to go on display Monday!