Dig Baton Rouge

Healing Art

By Tara Bennett

Works by selected LSU School of Art graduate students are currently adorning the Healthcare Gallery in the exhibition, “Resilience: The Healing Power of Art.” The exhibit will run from now through Jan. 16 and is free to the public.

The theme of the show revolves around the power art holds to help heal, and according to Executive Assistant Alexis Stephenson, the Healthcare Gallery is the perfect space for such an exhibit because it’s not your typical doctor’s office and lacks harsh lighting, stark white walls and poor artwork.

“The Healthcare Gallery is a healing retreat for people,” said Stephenson. “I think it’s really cool that we have all these different types of work that people can look at and relate to; something about the art they see on the wall can create a dialogue within themselves, and maybe distract them for a little while from the fact that they’re at a doctor’s office.”

In the show, the artists have one to three of their works on display, ranging from different mediums including sculpture, printmaking, paintings, stoneware, mixed media, lithographs, water colors and photography. The exhibition features new artwork by 21 students, including: Chelsea Ramirez, Ian C. Minich, Mike Stumbras, Bri Ozanne, Adam Meistrell, Jono Wright, Jamie Kutner, Leah Hamel, Brittany Sievers, Taryn Moller Nicoll, Naomi Clement, Brian Deppe, Abigail Smithson, Eric Euler, Jenni Lombardi, Kelsey Livingston, M. Robyn Wall, Andrea Berg, Cassidy Creek, Morgan Anderson, Elizabeth Welch, Masy Hebert and Melodie Reay.

“We focused on some of the prominent graduate students who are up for review this year, and also who we thought would work well with the theme,” said Curator Rodneyna Hart. “Some of their work is easily shown to connect with the theme of resilience and healthcare…It came together very nicely.”

According to Hart, some of the highlights of the exhibition include artists with a strong use of imagery, such as Nicoll, who uses a lot of vein and organ imagery; Lombardi, whose ceramic work has a direct line from inspiration to execution, and Welch, whose paintings deal with images of scars and trauma.

“Overall, it’s a really a strong exhibition,” said Hart. “I’m really pleased with the layout and the way it all came together.”

The concept of the gallery was developed by husband-wife duo Dr. Leone Elliott and Sophia Omar. Their love of art combined with their desire to provide a unique patient experience led to the creation of the Healthcare Gallery. According to Stephenson, there are works in every single room from beyond the lobby so visitors will be surrounded by the artwork.

“We want to create this space that offers a therapeutic experience, where you walk in and you’re comfortable,” said Stephenson. “It’s homey in a lot of ways, and it’s very well put together. It’s not like we have things just painted against the wall.”

This exhibit is also one of the official exhibits associated with P.3+BR. This is the first year Baton Rouge has been involved in the art biennial, which originated in New Orleans.

“It’s great to see these students have worked really hard, and they are furthering their education and they get to be part of something that is historic,” said Stephenson.

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