There is a place in Aberdeen where art lovers can view high-quality art whenever the fancy strikes them. The Healing Gallery at Grays Harbor Community Hospital is open seven days a week, night and day. At this place, artists can display and sell their art without fees or commissions. The Healing Gallery transformed a formerly bare hallway connecting the main building with the E.K. & Lillian Bishop Tower and Dr. Juris Macs Emergency Department.
Since the fall of 2012, the Healing Gallery has collaborated with Our Aberdeen displaying original work by professional and amateur artists from Western Washington in eight exquisitely composed shows.
Let’s take a look at the current 2016 Spring Show. The hospital environment dictates family friendly subject matter such as Carry Larson’s muted, reflective textile art, Kimmi Kearns’ whimsical ceramic–metal installation and a sprite released from a piece of driftwood by woodcarver Tony Robinson. Modern media are represented by Ken Hunt’s mysterious encaustic photography and Judy Horn’s exploding electronic color landscapes.
Participating artists are involved in the many tasks of running the gallery. Mery Swanson, Our Aberdeen’s Art Promotion Director, is one organizer. Swanson works in friendly collaboration with Geri Stubb, current curator and hospital liaison for the gallery. These two hardworking ladies are both watercolor artists who have had their own work displayed at the Healing Gallery. This year, they have brought you the work of some colleagues.
For those who love traditional watercolors, Julie Daniel’s exquisite flowers and Roy Lowry’s river landscapes with their masterful treatment of light beckon. Inspired by prehistoric art, Ardith Fosgren creates delicate animal choreographies reminiscent of the Lascaux Caves. Robin Davis’ water colors flaunt the luminosity of oil paints executed in precision, while Sandy de Luna’s water colors speak of powerful forces of nature.
Art is chosen by a selection committee which meets 15-20 days before the opening of each year’s spring and fall show. The committee tries to select at least one piece by each applicant for your viewing pleasure.
In this show, you may marvel at the drama of Douglas Orr’s photo-realistic ‘Washington Winter’ and Bev King Luvkin’s powerful landscapes, or you may prefer the traditional charm of Naomi Offner’s horses at their ‘Afternoon Water Stop.’ Larry Walden’s pastel ‘Lovely Flowers’ possesses a naïve freshness of its very own.
Swanson explains how she and Stubbs divide tasks. “I am the creative boss. I format the applicant’s art to present to the committee. I create the brochure and work on the computer a lot. Geri takes care of the detail work, including scheduling and connections. She also runs the receptions we have for the shows.” As curator, Stubbs is responsible for the hanging of the art works. Photographer Edward Schroll assists with design and installation.
View Schroll’s work in the current show. His camera captures the hushed mood of ‘Beach Horses’ while watercolor artist Noel Kreicker depicts a very similar place in the ‘Promise of Spring’. Barb Shillinger picks out the simple beauty of a bug on a dandelion with her camera. John W. Tieder’s photographs of coastal landscapes are pure and untouched while Gary D. Lennon’s photographic still-lives are saturated with glorious red.
Calligrapher Elizabeth Bolton has created the beautiful framed legend displaying the names of all the above artists at the entrance to the show.
The healing properties of art have long been recognized. A notable example of a hospital art collection is the famous 4,000 piece collection of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Hollywood which inspired Grays Harbor Community Hospital’s Sharon Taylor when the new emergency department was opened in 2006. She began to hang art in the hallway connecting the main building with the new emergency department. In 2012, she contacted Our Aberdeen for help with the Healing Gallery.
The ensuing collaboration between the hospital’s customer experience team and Our Aberdeen has been beneficial to the entire community. Our Aberdeen included the Healing Gallery in their promotional ‘Artists on the Map’ set of brochures. These attractive brochures can be found at many Grays Harbor public venues. The Greater Grays Harbor chamber of commerce distributes them at three different national tourism meetings.
Quite a few art sales have been made. Swanson speaks of frequent praises she hears in the community. Hospitals patients are happy to be surrounded by beauty rather than sterile white walls. Hospital staff has become very protective of their art. Once the police was called, when a careless artist tried to remove a piece just sold without notifying the staff on duty. The Healing Gallery has been an overall success.
The Healing Gallery at Grays Harbor Community Hospital is located at 915 Anderson Drive, Aberdeen and is open all hours, every day. View archived shows on the Healing Gallery website. Sponsored