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Surgery patients healed with ‘therapy art’

Arts Clayton, Spivey Station partner for year-long exhibit

Photos by Curt Yeomans
Vangie Dennis, administrator for Spivey Station Surgery Center, explains some of the details she likes about a photograph that hangs in the center’s lobby. The photo is part of a new year-long Arts Clayton exhibit which is on display at the surgery center.

Photos by Curt Yeomans Vangie Dennis, administrator for Spivey Station Surgery Center, explains some of the details she likes about a photograph that hangs in the center’s lobby. The photo is part of a new year-long Arts Clayton exhibit which is on display at the surgery center.

JONESBORO — Vangie Davis was stopped dead in her tracks Friday by a ferris wheel in the lobby of Spivey Station Surgery Center in Jonesboro.

Actually, it was a photo of a ferris wheel next to a funnel cake stand.

“Look at this one,” said Davis, the surgery center’s administrator. “It reminds me of going to carnivals when I was a child. I used to love eating funnel cakes.”

The photo was one of several pieces in a special year-long juried exhibit, called “The Good Life,” which Arts Clayton has on display at Spivey Station. It marks the first time officials from the arts group and the surgery center have worked together to stage an exhibit.

Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin said the arts group had ties to Spivey Station before the exhibit opened. That is because Arts Clayton has a long-standing relationship with Southern Regional Health System, which created Spivey Station three years ago and maintains a relationship with the center, she said.

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Arts Clayton has a new year-long exhibit, entitled “The Good Life,” which is on display at Spivey Station Surgery Center in Jonesboro.

Dennis said she wanted to do something to liven up the center when she arrived last year, so she began looking for local artists who could donate artwork to be put on display in Spivey Station. That led to Southern Regional Chief Executive Officer Jim Crissey introducing her to Summerlin six months ago and the two women began talking about ways they could mix art and medicine.

“It’s kinda like jewelry,” said Dennis. “I don’t want to say the building we are in was bland, because it really is a beautiful facility, but it needed the artwork to really pop.”

The exhibit is called “The Good Life,” which is a play on the health care aspect of its location. The exhibit, which features a variety of different visual art styles ranging from oil paintings to photography, opened last month and will stay in place until next fall.

“We wanted it to have a health focus because people are going there to have surgeries that will prolong their lives,” said Summerlin.

She added Arts Clayton had two reasons to get involved in the partnership: To offer its artists another venue to exhibit their work, and to bring more attention to Spivey Station.

Despite the health focus of the exhibit, Summerlin admits the theme is meant to be a “broad brush stroke” which exhibiting artists were allowed to play with and find their own meaning.

The images captured range from abstract mixes of paints, to detailed paintings of the beach, to a charcoal drawing of Audrey Hepburn, to a watercolor painting of a man playing a saxophone.

Dennis said even that diverse group of subjects can be good for a person’s health, however. She said the artwork relaxes patients before they go into surgery, and it has a positive impact on a person’s mental health.

“Some hospitals have therapy dogs, but we have therapy art,” said Dennis.