February 25, 2009
‘Healing art’ gallery now open in health center
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A new lobby art gallery is designed to enhance the “healing environment” of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Student Health Center.
“It makes people feel good,” said Dr. Ted Grace, director of the center.
The first permanent acquisition for the gallery is “Blue,” a painting by Robert L. Paulson, professor emeritus and former director of the School of Art and Design.
Beth Alongi of the Student Health Center Marketing Department acquired the grant funding from Student Affairs and selected the Paulson painting for purchase at the University’s last Art Over Easy auction. Alongi said the painting itself is both eye-catching and soothing. Paulson explained that this painting, of Paulson’s now deceased horse Blue, is his only large painting of the animal. Paulson’s aunt, a vaudeville singer and vaudeville show backdrop painter, inspired the painting’s setting. Blue stands on a red stage, representing reality, and looks toward the scenic “backdrop” of water and trees that isn’t reality at all.
“It’s fascinating. We are thrilled to own this wonderful masterpiece,” Alongi said. “And a really beautiful thing about it is that the proceeds of the Art Over Easy go back to the school of Art and Design to benefit their program. We love the painting and the sale proceeds help SIUC students too.”
The Student Health Center formed a committee to seek grants and raise funds to acquire additional pieces for the atrium gallery. Those interested in making monetary donations may contact Alongi for more information. She said the goal is acquiring soothing, therapeutic artwork, with preference for local artisans who are SIUC students, faculty or alumni. The acquisition process will move slowly, assuring that each piece fits with the gallery’s art therapy motif, she said.
The idea of using artwork with purpose isn’t new at the health center. About a year ago, Alongi began a rotating exhibit for SIUC student art. Located in the hallway adjacent to the eye center, it’s currently home to work by students Jacob LaGory, Joshua Nobiling and Robert A. Pioche, Jr.
“It’s a real good opportunity” to be able to have the venue for display of his work and that of other students, said LaGory, a senior art education major from Downers Grove.
“This is an important experience to have as an art student,” he said.
Nobiling, a senior art major from Moline, concurred. He was pleased on a recent afternoon to find visitors staring at his oil paintings: “The Wake,” “The Poetry of Alcohol,” and “Superstore.” Rounding out the eclectic temporary display were works by Pioche, a senior art major from Mundelein.
Alongi said the student art display is fluid, with pieces typically coming and going every two or three weeks. The one exception in the schedule begins March 17 when “The Art of Empowerment,” a therapeutic display created by clients of The Women’s Center Inc., comes to the hallway gallery. It’s the only non-student display, she said. Yet, like the student art and the new professional “healing art” gallery, it’s all part of the mission of the Student Health Center -- creating an environment of health and healing.
For more information about contributing to the acquisition of artwork for the atrium display or loaning student artwork for display in the hallway gallery, contact Alongi at 618/453-4810 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.