Gifts of Art celebrates 25th anniversary with employee art exhibition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinner: Nothing is Spoken, by Scott Wettlaufer (Internal Medicine) with Ora Pescovitz, executive vice president for Medical Affairs, U-M, and CEO, UMHS

From traditional painting to collages made with recycled materials, U-M Health System employees are showing their artistic side in the 25th Employee Art Exhibition —the largest ever. The exhibit is located in Taubman South Lobby, Level 1, and will be on display until Monday, Oct. 8.

At the September 11 awards reception, UMHS CEO and U-M Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, Ora H. Pescovitz, M.D., presented 10 “Best in Category” awards; a “People’s Choice” award, which was determined by popular vote of the patients, visitors and staff; and a “Best in Show” award which was determined by the guest juror, Robert P. Kelch, M.D., emeritus EVPMA and professor of pediatrics.

See the list of winners here.

“Contributing employees view the Employee Art Exhibition as an opportunity to share a part of themselves, their creative side that they usually can’t share in their jobs,” says Gifts of Art Visual Arts Coordinator Kathi Talley.

Andrew Weeden, a nuclear medicine technologist from the department of nuclear medicine, agrees. He has been in the show for 10 years and has won recognition in the photography category. “It’s good to see other people’s work and talk to colleagues who do art outside of work,” he says.

Weeden’s color photomontage, “Trout Camp, Opening Day 2012, Kalkaska, Michigan,” is an homage to the older man in the photo who taught him to fly fish.

Amy Maier, wife of Applications Systems Analyst William Maier in MCIT, is a first-time submitter with her encaustic wax painting, “Toonos.” “Bill suggested it to me, and I thought it would be fun. This is my year to start submitting my work to exhibits,” she said. “I’m working on my ‘bucket list.’”

During the awards presentation, Pescovitz said, “I know this is a labor of love for those of you who are artists, and I want to thank you for your labor of love and for taking the time to participate.”

Pescovitz submitted one of her late husband’s pieces to the show.

Robert P. Kelch, M.D., emeritus EVPMA, came out of retirement to serve as Employee Art Exhibition judge. Kelch has begun his own career as a fine arts photographer.

Robert P. Kelch, M.D., emeritus EVPMA, came out of retirement to serve as Employee Art Exhibition judge. Kelch has begun his own career as a fine arts photographer.

Kelch, who chose internal medicine senior research lab specialist Scott Wettlaufer’s “Nothing is Spoken” for “Best in Show,” said, “The Employee Art Exhibition is wonderfully effective in bringing peace of mind and beauty to this intense, sometimes machine-oriented environment. The show emphasizes how multi-talented the staff and faculty are.”

And when the people spoke, “Puppy Love,” painted by Vanessa Lawrence, an administrative assistant in gastroenterology, received “People’s Choice” award.

This year there were 140 art submissions by 69 different artists. Of those artists, 38 were first-time submitters, and 19 were family members of UMHS employees. This is the first year the show was open to family members.

“I would love to eventually get the show to fill two gallery sites, both Taubman South and Taubman North,” Talley says. “With 22,000 UMHS employees, I think it will be possible.”