Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 3:33 PM on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New gallery opens at unlikely spot — South Peninsula Hospital

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Photo by Michael Armstrong

The Hospital Gallery space runs along a wall between the laboratory and the pharmacy.

With its gleaming, highly polished floors and long hallways, South Peninsula Hospital might not seem a likely spot for an art gallery. Thanks to a collaboration between the Homer Council on the Arts, and with support from the South Peninsula Hospital Foundation, earlier this month the Hospital Gallery opened with an exhibit of Jubilee youth art.

At the entrance, a festive sculpture, "Cowboy Up," greets visitors. Sculpture lies around the front waiting room, too. On one wall, art so bright you have to wear shades, like Irina Reutov's "Aurora Sun Glasses," lines the hallway between the laboratory and the pharmacy.

"The Hospital Gallery is just one more way of bringing 'community' into our community hospital while providing a free venue to showcase local art," said SPH marketing director Derotha Ferraro.

There had been earlier attempts to get rotating art exhibits at the hospital, but the Hospital Gallery came together when HCOA and the hospital worked together on the community health improvement plan. At plan meetings, HCOA director Gail Edgerly and Ferraro worked out the partnership. The SPH Foundation funded the installation of rails and hangers to display art.

Through the partnership, the Hospital Gallery will show art previously displayed at HCOA for one or two months. Starting in May is art from Dick Sanders' fall 2011 show, "Full Catastrophe." Sanders also shows work specially created for the Hospital Gallery.

"He does really fun, mixed media work — lots of color and energy," said Alayne Tetor, HCOA exhibition coordinator.

Not all work shown at HCOA would be appropriate for the hospital, but Sanders' art is the kind HCOA is looking for, Tetor said.

"It's supposed to be positive, upbeat artwork that brightens the mood of people who go to the hospital," she said.


Photo by Michael Armstrong

"Aurora Sun Glasses," by Irina Reutov.

For residents of Long Term Care or patients, like the hospital garden or the solarium walkway, the gallery offers a respite from the challenges of healing and recovery. Nurses have taken patients in wheelchairs to view the gallery.

The gallery also brings art to a broader audience, Tetor said.

"A lot of people have said they wouldn't normally go into an art gallery," she said.

Tetor said reactions from visitors have been positive. While she was installing the Jubilee show, people walking by kept thanking her for the art.

"Even this one guy getting rolled out of surgery on a gurney was, 'Look at the art work. It's cool,'" Tetor said.

As the gallery grows, it also could include art from other galleries, including for-profit galleries, Ferraro said.

"This is just the beginning of art in the hospital," Ferraro said. "There are endless opportunities."

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael. armstrong@homernews.com.