I spend the day with the crew at the University of Arizona’s medical school. I am in downtown Phoenix, at the Health Sciences Education Building, installing Nothing In Stasis, my most recent (years of work actually) drawings and paintings.
Walking in this morning, I see a group of students looking closely at my largest canvas that at the moment leans against a wall. I hear someone call out the name of a muscle. Someone else points out the thyroid. I smile as I approach them and someone asks, Are you the artist? This is so accurate, she says. I hope so, I respond. I identify the figures in the painting and we talk about the content.
In between classes I catch students looking at artwork. Either I am introduced by someone or I introduce myself. I completely enjoy it.
I shoot a series of photos ↓ while sitting in the corner working out a hanging system. Again, students are between classes. One young woman looks at one drawing and then another. She calls a friend over and says something to her as she points. I decide to walk over and introduce myself (all the while feeling like John Quiñones on What Would You Do).
The one female asks me if the surrounding organs signify something about the people depicted.
Yes! You’re correct!
Are they people you know?
My niece, my father and my mother.
We discuss the compositions of my parents. They clearly recognize and appreciate the details.
I don’t know how many students I connect with on this busy afternoon but each conversation brings insight. Are you a medical doctor? My not so scientific response – No, but maybe in another life I was.
Before the afternoon is over I gather how meaningful the usual art works are to the students, faculty, and staff. They have rotating exhibitions here. And for some reason this last month there has been no art on their walls. I am, in fact, putting my work up 2 weeks ahead of schedule. I clearly hear and see the art element is missed by most everyone.
I speak with Cynthia Standley, who among other things organizes the Art in Medicine programming. We discuss the value of art in this particular educational setting. We talk about the connection between art and medicine (science) in terms of skill building: observation, critical thinking and communication. She notes how the skills enhance patient care. I note these are the very same skills I teach my drawing students.
I learn they have a partnership with the Phoenix Arts Museum as does our Department of Art at Phoenix College.
At the end of a long day, I sit and watch the natural light flood the now quiet area.
On a side note: When I agree to have a solo at the medical school, I am unaware they have a room with glass walls ↑ and they don’t know I have 2-sided translucent drawings. A medical school with glass walls…perfect!
My studio is empty. I have 60-plus drawings and paintings hanging in the Health Sciences Education Building at the Phoenix Bio-Medical Campus located a few blocks South of the Roosevelt Row Arts District.
The exhibition titled Nothing In Stasis will be showing to April of 2018. The area is open to the public and allows for visitors. An artist reception is in the planning for February’s First Friday. More info to come.