Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Operation Picasso

Ojai Valley Artists on Display at Ojai Valley Community Hospital

Img40.pngA collection of over two hundred original works of art featuring local artists of the Ojai Valley are now on exhibit for public viewing.  These pieces are not being shown in a gallery, however; they are right here at your local hospital for the enjoyment of patients, visitors and staff alike.

Operation Picasso, three years in the making, was initiated because of the current interest in the arts in healthcare.  Barbara Hirsch of the Ojai Valley Community Hospital Foundation Guild Board of Directors was asked to launch the project after successfully completing a similar endeavor at UCLA Medical Center.  There it was found that the artwork enhanced the atmosphere, created a more tranquil positive environment and was even shown to relieve stress. 

“It’s a partnership between the hospital and the community,” said Hirsch, who co-chairs the project alongside Neva Williams Bradigan. 

All pieces were either contributed by the artist or purchased by a hospital patron who then donated to the project.  These methods of piecing the collection together created opportunities for artists to either donate or be compensated for their work and then have their artwork prominently displayed.  It was also an opportunity for patrons to give to the hospital. 

Once the pieces were collected, Dr. Raymond Sims secured all the framing costs from the Burns Family Foundation for the project.  The pieces were then custom framed and hung throughout the lobbies, hallways, rooms and treatment areas of the Ojai Valley Community Hospital, the Continuing Care Center and the Keeler Migraine Center.  Each piece is accompanied by an individual label detailing the artist, medium, title and the name of the donor.

Among the many local artists on exhibit are: Shahastra, Gayel Childress, Leila Kleiman, Jeff Sojka and Richard Amend.  Local photographers are also featured in the collection, including Fred Rothenberg.  Although the works are not available for purchase, documentation books are available at each location which provide information about the artists and how they can be reached.

“We have had a very positive response from staff, patients and visitors,” said Hirsch, who recently had a friend stay in the hospital.  “She told me, ‘One of the best things about my stay was having the artwork to see.’”

The next time you are at the hospital, take a moment to take in the original works of art adorning the walls.  For more information, contact the Foundation office at 640-2317.

This article was written for Caring Magazine, a publication of Community Memorial Health Systems.