Escape artist: Best in Show winner finds Gifts of Art Employee Art Exhibition to be unique, inspiring

November 15, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees, ,
Steven Scaglione next to his award-winning piece.

Every morning, Steven Scaglione walks from his parking spot near the Rogel Cancer Center to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, where he works as a pediatric resident.

It’s a time to clear his head — and, he said, a time to enjoy one of the unique perks of Michigan Medicine.

“I pass by probably four or five art exhibits every day,” Scaglione said. “At times, our buildings seem more like an art gallery than a hospital.”

Catching his eye

One of the exhibits that caught his eye last year was the Employee Art Exhibition, an annual event hosted by Gifts of Art. He was so enamored with the artwork on display that he vowed to enter this year’s exhibition.

And enter he did — Scaglione submitted a linoleum print entitled “Five Liters (A Tough Problem),” a piece so impressive that jurists named it Best in Show. 

The print is created by meticulously carving a linoleum block by hand, essentially turning it into a large stamp. Then Scaglione covers the stamp with ink and presses it onto the paper, creating the artwork on display.

It’s an incredibly time-consuming process.

“In total, it probably took me about 60 hours to create ‘Five Liters’” Scaglione said. And he did it all during his free time during his third year of medical school at Vanderbilt.

“I’ve always been interested in art, even taking some classes during my undergraduate career,” Scaglione said, adding that linoleum blocks and wood blocks are more recent methods he’s experimenting with. “Art serves as a bit of an escape for me.”

A successful show

It’s clear that art also serves as an escape for many other Michigan Medicine team members.

This year, 48 faculty, staff, learners and family members submitted 72 pieces of art for the exhibition, ranging from Scaglione’s prints to photographs, paintings, sculptures, jewelry and more.

Two artists juried the show, John Gutoskey and Peter Sparling. Gutoskey is an artist, designer, printmaker and collector who earned his MFA from the U-M Stamps School of Art & Design. At U-M, he studied printmaking and installation art and completed a certificate in LGBTQ studies.

Sparling is the Rudolf Arnheim Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Dance and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus at U-M.

This year’s exhibition is on display through Dec. 2 in the Gifts of Art Gallery on the first floor of Taubman Health Center’s South Lobby. The pieces can also be seen in this online gallery.

Checking out the impressive work serves as a way to get to know colleagues in a new light — something Scaglione said he appreciates.

“When the people you work with are all wearing scrubs and doing similar things as you, everyone sort of blends into one another,” he said. “But seeing names and roles next to incredible pieces of art, you really get to know people in a different way. It’s a cool experience and I’m thrilled that I could be a part of it.”

This year’s winners

Here is a full rundown of winners of this year’s Gifts of Art Employee Art Exhibition. A full gallery of the works can be seen below.

Painting

Winner: Alchemy by Mickey Nguyen, U-M Medical School
Honorable mention: Fallen Leaves by Sandra Drabant, Rogel Cancer Center Patient and Family Support Services

Drawing and Pastel

Winner: Serenity by Dara Morgan, East Ann Arbor General Pediatrics
Honorable mention: Freedom by Hanjoo Kim, psychiatry

Collage and Mixed Media

Winner: Quiet Confidence by Merideth Sauvé, Nursing Clerical Services
Honorable mention: Sydney, the German Short-Haired Pointer by Elizabeth Jewell, anesthesiology

Black and White Photography

Winner: One Man’s Trash by Michael Tomaszewski, Cardiovascular Medicine Post Heart Transplant

Color Photography

Winner: Bittersweet Gale by Heather Simkiss, internal medicine
Honorable mention: Garden Kale by Mitzi Rabe, Rogel Cancer Center nursing

Fiber Arts

Winner: One of Many by Anna Marie Omans, mother of Debra Omans, Frankel Cardiovascular Center Nursing Administration
Honorable mention: Dragonflies by Jane F. Riebe-Rodgers, pediatric trauma

Watercolor Painting

Winner: Happy Bebe by Damian Fermin, internal medicine, Division of Nephrology
Honorable mention: Calla Lilies: Purity, Holiness & Faithfulness by Mary Groll-Brown, radiation oncology

Ceramics and Glasswork

Winner: Vase in Red by Christopher Platek, Adult Emergency Services
Honorable mention: Rainbow Bowl by Mollie Bodin, Medical School Office of Research

Jewelry

Winner: Golden Turquoise by Sue Oblender, Michigan Visiting Nurses
Honorable mention: Copper Sphere by Debra Omans, Frankel Cardiovascular Center Nursing Administration

Sculpture and Assemblage

Winner: Electric Cherub by Frances Randall, infectious disease call center
Honorable mention: COVID-19 Baby by Susan Adams, main operating rooms

Upcycled/Repurposed

Winner: Healing Touch by Tina Creguer, Precision Health
Honorable mention: Patty’s Prayers by Frances Randall, infectious disease call center

People’s Choice Award: Alchemy by Mickey Nguyen, U-M Medical School

Best in Show: Five Liters (A Tough Problem) by Steven Scaglione, pediatrics

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