Visitors to the Grays Harbor Community Hospital expect to see patients that are waiting in the lobby, heading toward a certain room or perusing the gift shop.
However, upon entering the hospital, a quick turn to the right and then a soft left brings them to a surprising addition.
Patients, doctors and visitors hurry down a long hallway with artwork lining the walls. The art hangs on wires suspended from long rails installed into the walls, looking very much like a show in a dedicated gallery.
There are watercolors, photographs, stained glass, linoleum cuts and mixed media pieces.
The Healing Gallery provides a unique opportunity for local artists to display their work and those in the hospital, including staff, to enjoy it.
Sylvia Dickerson, a member of Our Aberdeen, has been part of the team dedicated to curating this hallway full of Grays Harbor artists.
“It gives people something else to dwell on besides the hospital’s primary purpose,” Dickerson said.
In 2012, Our Aberdeen was contacted by nurse supervisor Sharon Taylor, who wanted to create a Healing Gallery like the one found at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Taylor is also part of the patient experience team, which is dedicated to finding new ways to make patients comfortable during their visits.
David Quigg, Grays Harbor Community Hospital director of public relations, said there has been a resoundingly positive reaction from both the community and hospital staff.
“We had no idea what to expect, but what we received has been an amazing addition to the hospital,” Quigg said.
In fact, Quigg said he usually gets frantic calls from hospital employees when they see the art being taken down to make room for the next show.
“I have to tell them ‘It’s OK, they’ve been gone for just a few hours but we’re getting new stuff up soon, ’ ” he said.
Every six months, a new batch of artists is chosen to showcase their best work on the walls, after a selection group chooses the best piece.
The committee is made up of one member of the hospital staff, an artist and someone from the Grays Harbor area in order to give different perspectives in the decision, Dickerson said.
Although artists had to be contacted for the project during the first show in fall of 2012, the last two shows were flooded with applications.
Michael Dickerson, Sylvia’s husband who also helps with the Healing Gallery, said the art is all for sale with prices varying from $250 to $4,000. A sheet hanging near the entrance to the hallway lists all of the pieces, the artists and the price.
However, the displays must remain up on the walls until the end of the show, even after a buyer has purchased it.
Neither, the hospital nor Our Aberdeen takes a commission, meaning that 100 percent of the profits go directly into the artists’ pockets. However, they do have to ensure their work is ready to be hung, whether it be framed or given a hook to hang from.
The Healing Gallery is open to the public any time.
“This is the only gallery open 24-hours a day in Aberdeen,” Sylvia Dickerson said. “So anyone who needs a late-night art fix has a place to visit.”
Current artists listed on the Healing Gallery website include Beverly King Lufkin, Brenda Peterson, Cheryl Stevenson, Don West, Donna Graham, Fran Allen, Ivy Moyer, Jack Holbrook, Kristi Beitzel, Larry Walden, Lyn Hayes, Margi Slabaugh, Mery Swanson, Pete Van Dalen, Roy Lowry, Sandy DeLuna, Terry Davenport and Terry DeHart.
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