When Judy Kimchi-Woods, PhD, RN, MBA, CPNP, CPHQ, visited art museums in Washington, D.C., she noticed that something was missing in the exhibits she viewed. Of the thousands of portraits that she had the privilege of seeing, only one depicted a nurse.
“It showed me that we must have become invisible to the public and to the decision makers at museums,” said Kimchi-Woods, president of the Chamberlain College of Nursing‘s Columbus campus in Ohio. “It inspired me to elevate the profession by organizing an art exhibit that would highlight the contribution of nurses to society and help others understand their importance.”
Following her trip, Kimchi-Woods began spearheading the fundraising to help bring an exhibit featuring curated pieces of nurses in artwork to life at the Columbus Museum of Art. The exhibit, Shine On: Nurses in Art, debuted March 20 and will be live until June 21.
Through sculpture, paintings, textiles, prints, photographs and posters that span centuries, Shine On celebrates the invaluable contribution that nurses have made to society. The innate capacity of humans to care for one another is fundamental to the practice of nursing and has been demonstrated in art that dates from ancient civilizations the world over.Robert Vickrey
Egg tempera on gesso panel
Estate of Robert Vickrey
Courtesy of Harmon-Meek Gallery, Naples, FL
Communicating the power of nursing through art
When asked what makes nursing and art so uniquely paired, Kimchi-Woods said, “Nursing is based on the science and art of caring. Art is universal, intended for any age and language is not necessary to understand and be inspired by it. Nursing is universal as well, as it impacts any person at any age and although language is helpful, it is not always necessary. Nurses engage in interactions with patients every day all over the world. They utilize scientific principles and critical thinking skills, but most importantly, it is the art of a tender touch and caring smile that can help people at their most vulnerable times.”Therese Cipiti Herron
The Way It Was
Oil on canvas
Collection of the artist
Kimchi-Woods hopes that the art exhibit inspires children to want to pursue nursing, as well as communicate to the public the integral role nurses play in society.
“I would like for the art exhibit to be a conversation starter about how nurses touch people in every stage of their life, from birth to death.”
Do you have a desire to create?
Kimchi-Woods encourages nurses who want to create art to remove self-imposed limitations. “Art is a vehicle of self-expression; there is no right or wrong and there is no limit but one’s own imagination. One should feel free to create art as they see it — be brave and forge forward.”
More on the art of nursing
Next week, Scrubbed In will be featuring three nurse artists who agree that nursing and art share a special relationship. They’ll share with you some of their views about art, as well as some of their favorite pieces.
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