Friday, July 23, 2010

Art exhibition helps healing

St. Luke’s gallery shows feature valley artists


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

“In Print #1” by James Bourret. Digital photograph at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center.

When St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center was built in 2000, an art program was conceived to create a healing atmosphere for patients and hospital staff. Today, the program features many talented Wood River Valley artists and continues to grow.

"It does not have a great deal of funding," said art program manager Katherine Pratt. "But, over the years, the exhibits have become to look more like a gallery."

Pratt asks artists for donations or long-term lending for rotation in the lobby and other areas in the hospital south of Ketchum.

"My goal is to always get one or two new artists to exhibit," she said. "There is so much talent in the valley and every year the exhibits increase in the quality of art that is shown, which is exceptional."

The current exhibition features Richard Rush, Susan Hall and James Bourret among many other valley artists. The shows change twice a year. As the hospital grows and evolves, new spaces are being filled with art.

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"It's keeps growing," Pratt said. "My job is getting more intense, and I keep connected to a community I love."

Pratt said future ideas include a show of children's art from valley schools, the possibility of docent art tours and the creation of limited-edition prints of the exhibiting pieces.

"The premise of having art in the hospital is to having healing spaces for visitors and staff with original artwork, not posters," Pratt said. "It's also part of a bigger movement in hospitals around the country to design more healing spaces with art."

Pratt said there is a limited budget but the Wood River Valley community is willing to make things work with placing art in the hospital.

"It has been an honor and a pleasure to do this," Pratt said. "My goal is to connect artists with the outside world and give first-time exhibiting artists a place to show their work. The hospital loves it and appreciates it."

One-third of the art in the hospital is permanent and the rest is on loan and for sale. Pratt said she eventually hopes to have more permanent art in the hospital.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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