Wishard selects 16 artists' works for Eskenazi Health

Diverse group will create environment of care at new Wishard opening December 2013

CONTACT: Todd Harper
Phone: (317) 630-7808
Pager: (317) 310-5972
E-mail: todd.harper@wishard.edu

Indianapolis, September 4, 2012 -- The new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health will be one step closer to completion when Wishard presents the final set of art selections for the new hospital and health campus on September 7 at the Harrison Center for the Arts City Gallery. The art selections, which will remain on display at City Gallery until September 28, will be unveiled at the First Friday event from 6 to 10 p.m. at 1505 N. Delaware St. in Indianapolis.

The Eskenazi Health Art Program includes commissioned works from 16 contemporary artists. The art program for the new hospital will also celebrate and include paintings from the original collection which were created over a hundred years ago for what was then City Hospital. Information highlighting some of the new hospital's environmental sustainability and healthful food efforts will also be on display.

"This is an exciting moment that takes us one step closer to opening the new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health, and also how much of an extraordinary patient environment we are creating," said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and medical director at Wishard Health Services. "In these selections, we see the comfort and inspiration this art will bring to all who receive care at Eskenazi Health."

The presentation of the final selections, which comprise the final two of three groups of selections, continues a process that began in March 2011. The process featured extensive public viewing and comments and most recently included the presentation of the first set of final selections on May 8, 2012. The final set of selections, on display as part of the We Are City series at the Harrison Center for the Arts, will move into fabrication and will be installed in the new hospital and health campus prior to its opening at the end of next year.

"The Eskenazi Health art program is one of many aspects of the project that we designed to enhance patient care as well as uplift and inspire our community," said Matthew Gutwein, president and CEO of Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County. “We are delighted with the selections and pleased with the process and the support it has received.”

Research indicates that access to art and natural beauty play a positive role in the healing process. In addition to the selected new works, the new Eskenazi Health facilities will display paintings from the Art of Healing collection that were installed in Wishard in 1914. This includes reuniting four pieces of original work by T.C. Steele known as Four Seasons, which includes "Spring," "Summer" and “Autumn," as well as "Winter" from the Indiana State Museum's collection.

Biographies and project descriptions as well as some initial design renderings of the selected art pieces, created by the following list of artists, can be viewed online at EskenaziHealth.org:
  • Margo Sawyer
  • Malcolm Mobutu Smith
  • Ismael Muhammad Nieves
  • Loretta Bennett
  • Adam Frank
  • India Cruse-Griffin
  • Casey Roberts
  • Amy Brier
  • Mason Archie*
  • Aaron Stephan*
  • Richard Ross*
  • Artur Silva*
  • Kathy Bradford*
  • Tim Ryan*
  • T.C. Steele*

*Announced in May 2012

Wishard's art committee is comprised of local and national experts on art and culture. The committee selected artists that represent the rich diversity of the Indianapolis community, including native Hoosiers and artists born or living in Indianapolis, and artists representing women, minorities and people with disabilities. More than half – 62.5 percent – of the full art program comes from local Indiana artists, while 50 percent of the artists are minorities – 43.75 percent are African-American – 31.25 percent are female, 12.5 percent are veteran, 6.25 percent are people with disabilities and 6.25 percent are seniors.

"We're deeply grateful to all of the artists, to the selection committee and to our supporters and partners in the community who participated in this process and brought us to this wonderful moment," said Michael Kaufmann, director of special projects and civic investment for Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County.

Supporting partners include Blackburn Architects, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Big Car, Butler University Jordan College of Fine Arts, Harrison Center for the Arts, Herron School of Art and Design, Hoosier Salon, IDADA, iMOCA, Indiana Humanities, Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc., Indianapolis Museum of Art, Madame Walker Theatre Center, Microcinema International, People for Urban Progress, Primary Colours, and Reconnecting to Our Waterways Initiative.

Wishard budgeted $1.5 million for this art program and plans to fund the program through philanthropy.

"Medical care has advanced dramatically since St. Margaret's Hospital Guild funded the first art program at Wishard nearly 100 years ago, as have studies correlating exposure to art and natural beauty with improved health outcomes," said Ernest Vargo II, president and CEO of the Eskenazi Health Foundation. "The opportunity to fund this extraordinary art program is creating even more relationships with donors in our community who want to contribute to the health of our community through the arts."

Local minority-owned business enterprise Blackburn Architects, led by Alpha Blackburn, serves as the art program manager. More than 500 applicants from 39 states submitted responses to Wishard’s nationwide request for qualifications. An independent jury selected 54 finalists, and Wishard’s art committee assigned finalists to different public spaces in the new hospital. In 2011, art proposals were displayed at Wishard, throughout Indianapolis and online, and public comment was accepted on the proposals. Wishard collected more than 3,000 public comments, which were considered in the decision-making process.