Hospital looking for local art

Ginnie Seifert prepares her painting for an art show tonight at the Main ARTeri. Plains Regional Medical Center officials are hoping to find local art to display in the hospital. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

Empty, drab hallways at Plains Regional Medical Center will soon give way to art. And local artists will have an opportunity to provide that decoration tonight when PRMC administrators review their works.

“We suggested to them that, rather than going to Santa Fe, that they shop around here first — and they kind of liked the idea,” said John Muir of the Main ARTeri, where the exhibition will take place from 7 p.m. 9 p.m.

“The Pintores Art League has put out the word to all its members to bring stuff in. It’s been planned for a few months now. They’re not really sure what they want, but we thought we might as well give them some eye candy.”

John Sharp, purchasing agent for PRMC, said recent additions to the hospital, including the Cancer Center and the Healthplex, were proposed and built with the acquisition of art works as part of their respective budgets.

Sharp said those buildings were furnished with pieces purchased through local dealers, although the art itself wasn’t necessarily from the area.

The older, main portion of the hospital, however, required the formation of an art committee to help spruce up its halls.
“Plains Regional, at the end of last year, put together an art committee to start looking at purchasing art for the hospital,” Sharp said. “We’ve been looking at policies and procedures to acquiring art and we got money approved.

“We’re just going to walk around and see what’s available locally. I think a lot of people assume you’ve got to go somewhere else to buy art. We thought it’d be a good idea to see what local artists do and what price range they have on their stuff, the kind of variety that they have.”

While hospitals are most often inhabited by those who have no choice but to be there, the surroundings, Sharp reasons, should be as visually pleasing at possible.

It was this objective that led to the formation of the committee and, ultimately, in the viewing get-together scheduled for tonight.

“We just have huge, long stretches of hallways with nothing in them at all,” Sharp said. “We’re just trying to beef it up and make it attractive, so when people are cruising through the halls they have something to look at.”