Skip to main content

ART in the RMC: A collaboration of art and healing

Hospital news | Monday, October 26, 2009

Contact: Mardi Ford

Dave Cross, GRH Technical Services, has taken the art collection on display at the Regional Medical Clinic to heart. This week he is putting the final touches on hanging the 65-piece collection which includes these two woodblock prints by the late Ben Francy. The collection will be unveiled Oct. 30 from 5 to 7 PM at the Regional Medical Clinic, 506 4th St., La Grande.

When it came time to choose the artwork that would complete the blank canvas of the newly constructed Regional Medical Clinic, Grande Ronde Hospital decided to color outside the lines.

“During the process for choosing art for the clinic, it became apparent that the vision we all had was for something unique, something that would make a statement about our community and our clinic,” says Wendy Roberts, Director of Administrative Services at GRH. “We realized there was no better pool to draw from than the enormous well of talent right here in our own backyard.”

But knowing how best to take advantage of that pool of talent took some deliberation, as well.

“We decided we’d ask for input from the experts,” says Carl Bond, Director of Clinical Services at GRH. “We put out a community-wide bid asking for submissions. We really didn’t know what the response would be, but figured it was a place to start.”

The hospital’s open bid process garnered an overwhelming response from local artists, including a proposal by Cory Peeke and Kathelene Galloway, art professors at Eastern Oregon University. Galloway and Peeke's proposal was a curatorial plan to create a permanent collection of art that would promote the linkages between the medical, art and education communities of the Grande Ronde Valley.

“It was so exciting to see the proposal that the hospital sent out. They really took a chance in trying a new way of doing business when they tapped into our very vibrant, local art community,” says Galloway, an Associate Professor of Art at Eastern Oregon University.

A total of 15 artists have come together to provide art for the clinic under the guidance of Galloway and Cory Peeke, an Associate Professor of Art and director of the Nightingale Gallery at EOU, who graciously accepted the challenge to act as project curators.

“It has been such a pleasure for Cory and me to share our expertise in a collaborative exchange with a great group of people from the hospital. Developing this collection was a positive experience for all involved and thanks to the hospital’s forward thinking, several local artists have benefited and will continue to do so,” Galloway says.

Their stated vision to provide a permanent collection of artwork that celebrates the connection between the Grande Ronde Hospital, the community it serves, and artists in the Union County area, aligned perfectly with the hospital’s goals. The curators have assembled a collection of works that is an eclectic yet comprehensive mix reflecting the broad range of the region’s talent and diversity.

“I don’t think any of us could have imagined the final result. It is stunning – we are all so excited for the community to see this. Kat and Cory did an amazing job putting this collection together,” Roberts says.

Galloway and Peek chose 65 pieces of original art for the collection that would create a professional and comfortable working environment for staff that would also benefit patients in the healing environment of the clinic. Their vision blended the Hospital’s very limited budget with the artists’ desire to improve the well-being of patients, and desire to participate in such a unique collection.

The market value of the art in the RMC totals $34,820, but with the modest budget for this project, artists actually donated a staggering $20,820 of their work to the Grande Ronde Hospital Foundation for placement in the Clinic.

"A donation of this magnitude speaks very highly of the generosity of our local art community, the Foundation is very proud to accept this donation," said Lowell Knopp, Foundation Board Chair.

The regional artists represented in the collection include a wide-spectrum from those just beginning their careers as well as many well-established, nationally collected artists. The complete list includes Ian Clark, Tom Dimond, Mona Dinger, Andrea Eskelin, Kathelene Galloway, Don Gray, Lisa Greif, Jaime Gustavson, Fred Hill, Cory Peeke, Jessica Plattner, Amy Poor, Brittney Singer, Jessie Street, Josephine Topholm and Ben Francy on behalf of the Nightingale Gallery Collection at Eastern Oregon University.

To celebrate the collection and the collaboration of Grande Ronde Hospital, it’s Foundation, Eastern Oregon University and so many local artists and artisans, the Regional Medical Clinic will host ART in the RMC, an open house and art tour on Friday, October 30, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the RMC at 506 Fourth Street. The public is invited.