Guest Column: SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center will display work by local artists

By John R. Mecklenburg
SwedishAmerican Executive Vice President & CEO

While the construction work continues on the new SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center, the work also continues on the campaign to help fund the project. Among other things, the new center will feature a plethora of specifically-selected pieces of art, created primarily by local and regional artists.

A portfolio of more than 40 pieces of art has been assembled for potential purchase to adorn the walls of the public areas of the Cancer Center. This collection does not include the pieces that will be purchased for the patient exam, treatment or procedure rooms. I have a portfolio with photos of the various pieces under consideration. If you’d like to help us purchase one or more pieces of the art for the new center, give me a call, and I can “walk you through” the various pieces.

This fall, our Swedish exchange program expands to include two new groups —nurses and teaching students — who will spend time in the city, studying and learning American ways.

Incidentally, one of the things that has made our exchange program easier to coordinate has been the ownership of a house on 16th Avenue, left to us by Linda Rogers, five years ago. Prior to her death, Linda offered us her completely furnished home (in her will), if we would agree to put it to “a good use” for at least five years. We agreed, and that residence has housed each of the visiting Swedish contingents, as well as other, short-term SwedishAmerican visitors for five years.

During the five years we’ve owned it, we’ve added a 3/4 bath in the basement level and turned the second story into a “dorm-style” bedroom. The ownership of this property has allowed us to expand and continue some of our programs, with minimal costs, all thanks to the foresight and generosity of one woman. We never know what our donors are going to offer us, but we’ve learned that if we accept what they want to give, somehow, eventually, it tends to turn into good for the community.

The latest “hero” in the SwedishAmerican Neighborhood Revitalization Program? Riverside Community Bank! Riverside has GIVEN us a foreclosed property, for us to rehab and resell. Rather than see a property (that had been badly abused prior to foreclosure) turn into a month-to-month rental, Riverside agreed to put the property into The Foundation’s hands for “recycling” into an owner-occupied home. While the departing residents did some senseless damage to the windows, walls and floors of the home, the house is structurally sound and will be a marketable home within the next year. THANKS, Riverside!

From the Aug. 1-7, 2012, issue

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