Memorial Medical Center (MMC) is using its art collection featuring New Mexico artists to bolster spirits and spread joy. The collection not only brightens the building, but provides an opportunity for artists to share their creations. The Memorial Art Initiative began the collection in late 2019 amidst the arrival of COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, the program launched and has flourished.
As MMC searched for a way to show support for its patients and staff, Cynthia DeLorenzi introduced the idea to initiate an art collection that showcased the work of New Mexico’s own. Cynthia, now MMC’s volunteer art curator, says she first discussed the notion with her friend and fellow member of the MMC community, Chief Nursing Officer Caryn Iverson. Both were enamored with the concept of healing through art and the program was quickly underway.
The art committee at Memorial Medical Center sent out a call for pieces created by artists in New Mexico. The work of many local artists now adorns the hospital walls for passersby to enjoy thanks to efforts by art committee volunteers at MMC — and the artists. Many of the pieces on display are available to purchase directly from the artist.
The collection is displayed throughout the hallways of the main hospital and the Administration Annex Building and will continue to spread as the program grows. The art varies in style, media, and subject. In addition to being the curator of the collection, Cynthia is also a member of the selection committee. She says that she looks for pieces with cheerful content to combat the some-times-stressful environment of a hospital. Upon viewing the collection, one is sure to notice and appreciate its colorful nature. Included in the bright collection are several photo-graphs printed on aluminum.
These beautiful photos depict sunsets, animals, and raging storms. Steve Lacy, a frequent visitor to the collection and a photographer himself, admires the photography displayed. He says, “It’s interesting to see in spaces like this that some people see a picture on the wall and simply walk by while others stop and take notice.” For an art lover like Steve, the collection is simply a blessing to the eye. Several of the photographs were taken by local photographer John Catlett, who eloquently captures our enchanted land.
Karen Zibert specializes in acrylic painting and shares her gifts through the Memorial Art Initiative. Several of the committee members are artists themselves. Carol Sanden and Cynthia both have their own pieces in the hospital, although they all-too-modestly say it is just to fill space until new art replaces it.
Carol commented on the process of creating art, saying that it can be both emotional and joyful. “Each painting, good or bad, is my child,” she says. Promoting joy through art in a place where people experience hardships every day has not gone unappreciated. Patients and staff have responded enthusiastically to the collection, noticing and dis-cussing the new pieces that come in. “The staff on other floors are even asking when it will expand to their levels,” Cynthia says.
Fortunately for them, the program members plan to expand the collection to every floor. The children’s and women’s levels of the hospital are next in line to receive pieces for display The growing collection has had a powerful impact on the MMC community, giving artists the opportunity to exhibit their work beyond art galleries and reaching new audiences while brightening the days of those in what can be a stressful environment.
“It gives artists a chance to share their gifts with the hospital,” Cynthia says. Some artists even donate the proceeds of sales of art on display at the hospital to MMC. With the collaboration between artists and the Memorial Art Initiative, the hospital community continues to be strengthened through art.
Caryn says, “It’s all about what it does for my patients and staff,” and what it does is help them feel supported with an artful gesture.
This in turn has made people feel warmly welcomed at MMC. Carol says, “Personally, I feel more attached to the hospital with the collection being here. It just makes you feel welcome.”
Those hoping to see the collection are now able to, as the hospital is once again open to the public. The Memorial Art Initiative remains ongoing, and New Mexico artists of all skill levels have the opportunity to exhibit their work. To be considered, the subject of the artwork must be hospital appropriate and, as mentioned earlier, have a positive message.
A multitude of art media is accepted, including oil, watercolor, acrylic, dyes, collages, ceramic, mixed-media, photography, sculptures, murals, mobiles, pottery, weaving, quilting, stained glass, and more. Realism, impressionism, contemporary, and abstract art will all be considered. The minimum size requirement for a photo or painting is a 16×20-inch frame and there is no maximum size limit. Picture wire and D-rings (installed three inches from the top of the art-work) must be attached to the frame.
If you would like to submit artwork to the Memorial Art Initiative for consideration, send three or four JPG photos of the work along with the title, the medium, over-all size, price, and the artist’s name, email address, phone number, brief biography, and photo via email to Cynthia DeLorenzi and Janice Jones, executive assistant to the MMC CEO, at [email protected] and
Story and photography by Azalea Hughes, Neighbors intern
Originally published in Neighbors magazine.
Posted by LasCruces.com