The UVM Medical Center has been exhibiting the work of Vermont artists on the main medical center campus for several years, thanks to its ongoing partnership with Burlington City Arts.
The latest exhibit showcases the work of painters Jill Madden and Johanne Yordan in the McClure Connector on Level 3, painter Maurie Harrington in the Hematology/Oncology hallway on Level 2, photographer Peter Arthur Weyrauch in the Cancer Center, and painter Kevin Ruelle in the intensive care unit (ICU).
We sat down for a roundtable discussion with all five featured artists. We discussed the importance of art in a health care setting. Here is what the artists had to say on that topic.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to share artwork in a health environment?
Johanne Yordan: Art captivates people, draws them in and makes them forget even for just one moment what they may be going through in their lives. Art helps to heal, helps to redirect focus and makes people happy. It allows you to forget about everything else around you and focus on the “creative process.” In a health care environment it is even more special for me to be able to share my artwork for those reasons.
Jill Madden: Hospitals can be very unsettling, scary places for some people, and art can act as a healing balm. My father was an orthopedic surgeon, and I used to go into the operating room with him when I was little and watch him replace people’s hips. If the smells made me wheezy I would look out the window at the sky to relax.
Maurie Harrington: I love to share my work with visitors, patients and hospital workers, doctors, nurses, and others. Years ago, I was told my work would be healing paintings. I have since donated my work to many hospices. Many of the paintings are in memory of friends and relatives. When I lived in Connecticut I worked as an art therapist. I also taught art at many convalescent and retirement homes. My latest project is to create “Paintings for Patients.” I would like to donate some of my prints and originals to be hung in patient rooms.
Peter Arthur Weyrauch: I think it’s important for two reasons. Often it is a very trying time for the family and individual to be in the health environment. If looking at a piece of art can make them feel even just a little bit better by taking their mind off of the stress for even one moment, in my opinion, the work is a success. Also, if the work can initiate a feeling of hope and beauty to explore more art outside the confines of the health environment, I believe that can also help motivate an individual to get better more quickly.
Kevin Ruelle: Health is seeing the world with an open mind. Art keeps it opening.
The current exhibit is on display through Spring and Summer 2013. Artwork by all five artists is available for purchase. For more information, contact 802-865-7296.
Learn more about each artist by visiting them online: