St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Campus, the Cultural Coalition of Allentown and Healing Through the Arts Program are working together to bring art created by local residents to the campus. The first exhibit, the Hope & Healing Art Show, features 34 paintings and photographs created by Lehigh Valley high school and college students. The art is displayed on the second floor of the hospital near the auditorium.
“We are honored that these students have donated their artwork for the enjoyment of our patients, visitors and staff,” said St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Campus president Frank Ford. “St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Campus is such an integral part of the community that it is only fitting that our hospital incorporates artwork created by these up-and-coming young artists. Their gifts have brightened our walls and will surely inspire hope and calm our patients, visitors and staff.”
The exhibit, which was installed in November, aligns with the Cultural Coalition of Allentown’s (CCA) vision to create a vibrant, energetic and engaging downtown with an abundance of diverse community arts and cultural offerings, said CCA administrator Sharon Smith.
“When your neighborhood is clean, colorful and filled with art, it evokes pride,” Smith said. “Having art makes your neighborhood more vibrant and interesting. Here in Allentown, we are fortunate to have truly exceptional art and CCA is committed to increasing the arts here. CCA is happy to support the Art Show and is grateful to the Healing Through the Arts for providing the art pieces.”
The brainchild of Heather Rodale, founder of Healing Through the Arts, the Hope & Healing Art Show provides high school and college students with the opportunity to create inspirational art for those who are healing. Rodale’s dream of Healing Through the Arts developed over several years, beginning when she was diagnosed with intermediate melanoma in 2004.
For several years, St. Luke’s University Health Network has selected art pieces from the show to hang in Jessica’s Hope & Healing Room on the second floor of the St. Luke’s Anderson Cancer Center. There it remains until the following art show. Photographs of the retired pieces are displayed on St. Luke’s internal website, enabling physicians and employees to view the art and request the original pieces for their office, department or work area.
“Participating in the art show helps students cope with their own feelings,” Rodale said. “At the time we started the shows, it was estimated that 20% of high school students were dealing with loss, loneliness, depression or bullying. Since the pandemic, that number has shot up to 50-70% experts estimate. Our show helps students find a voice to talk about things they’re dealing with.”
For more information about Healing through the Arts, visit www.htta.org