UIHC Staff Art Show allows employees, volunteers to showcase their creativity

The 40th-annual UIHC Staff Art Show is serving as an outlet for hospital workers and volunteers to express themselves and foster a sense of community.


Contributed by Project Art at UIHC

Christopher Borro, News Reporter

For 40 years now, the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics has created an outlet each August for staff members to express themselves in an often-tense workplace.

Project Art at the UIHC hosts monthly visual arts exhibits, along with regular performing-arts pieces.

“It’s a part of the ongoing temporary exhibit program that Project Art has … the other 11 are more curated art shows,”  said.

She said these other exhibits often focus on local and regional artists.

The Staff Art Show displays are located in two galleries at the Patient and Visitor Activities Center Gallery I on the eighth floor of the hospital and the Fountain Lobby Gallery IV on the ground floor. The former comprises mostly paintings, including a scene of the Lake Michigan shoreline and a small piece depicting the wake of a storm over an Iowa farmstead.

It’s a part of the ongoing temporary exhibit program that Project Art has … the other 11 are more curated art shows

— UIHC visual-art coordinator Sayuri Hemann

In the Fountain Lobby, visitors can find a host of sculptures and photographs, including a photograph of a cactus in Joshua Tree National Park, a sculpture of ducks carved from stone, and baby mobile decorated with Pomeranians.

Each work of art contains a small identifying placard next to it. The signs provide information on the piece: the name of the artist, the title of the work, the materials or art style used, and the department in which the artist is employed. A few placards also carry price tags, if artists choose to put their work up for sale. Hemann said two pieces have been sold.

In total, 28 staff members have their artwork displayed. The applications began in early June and ended in mid-July.

Mo Turnis, a UIHC operating-room technician and surgical technologist who has participated in the Staff Art Show for around a decade, said all the staff are welcome to submit their artwork. Housekeepers, nurses, physicians, and volunteers could submit work.

“Some people have very stressful jobs, and their hobby or tinkering is an outlet … to relax,” Turnis said.

He submitted a wind chime crafted from metallic parts from his garage this year. In past years, he said, he’s made a chandelier and walking sticks carved from tree limbs.

“It’s whatever strikes you at the time,” he said. “It’s just what you want to do, and there’s no real criteria for the show other than size.”

“There are always marvelous pieces of work that you just have to admire because in addition to their daytime jobs, [the artists] have a real passion and a real desire to share their skills,” UIHC spokesman Tom Moore said.

The exhibitions have been open to the public since Aug. 2 and will be showcased until Aug. 30.

“Obviously, our staff are very talented … but there are other sides of their lives as well,” Moore said. “This is a kind of opportunity to let them share that part of their lives with their coworkers.”