Local artists demonstrate art of healing

Imagine being a little person facing pediatric outpatient surgery. It could be an overwhelming, scary ordeal. Now, imagine “Run Bunny Run” on your wall, with his checkered little body and those great rubber boots.

That is just one of the 10 original paintings created by Rockford artist Keith Grace. It’s so much more than paintings on a wall. Artist Keith Grace came up with the idea to have the corresponding painting on the nametag on the door, which the patient gets to take home. There’s even an activity book. “Which painting is in your room?” “Can you find the characters hidden in these paintings?” Grace’s use of color, whimsy and the unexpected can’t help but bring a smile.

The Outpatient IV Therapy Unit has artwork from the following artists: Ingrid Neuhofer-Dohm, Tom Linden, Deborah Newton, Jan Pozzi, Cam Roberts, and Susan Webb Tregay. These rooms are utilized for procedures such as chemotherapy, and the artwork allows patients to let the colors and mood of the paintings wash over them.

The Rockford Health System Auxiliary allocated funds raised throughout the year for this project. Auxiliary members responsible for this great endeavor, utilizing art to heal, include Jean Kramer, Janice McVey, Nancy Kubitz, and Lois Kramer, who recently passed away. They took this project to heart. I remember bumping into Helen Brooks and the Auxiliary ladies at 317 Market Street during ArtScene last spring. They were checking out the local artists.

The staff of Rockford Health Systems was invaluable to making this happen; Earl Tamar, chief operating officer; Helen Brooks, executive director, Rockford Health System Development Foundation; Shellie Haddad, nurse manager; and Brian Myers, in-house architect.

Anne E. O’Keefe is executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council.

From the Dec. 28, 2005-Jan. 3, 2005, issue

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