Beloiters team up with Beloit Health System to bring art to hospital

The Beloit Memorial Hospital stairwell walls were a blank canvas and spurred a partnership between Beloit College faculty and students and Beloit Health System.

Beloit College artists Brooke McCammond and Hannah Kang spent approximately 14 hours per week on ... Beloit College artists Brooke McCammond and Hannah Kang spent approximately 14 hours per week on the mural at Beloit Memorial Hospital.
Credit: Beloit Health Systems

Beloit Health System in partnership with Beloit College has commissioned two student artists to bring the four seasons of the Midwest to life through art in a stairwell at Beloit Memorial Hospital.

The tree mural will transition from floor to floor starting with summer on the first floor and second floor, the second and third floors will depict fall, and then transition into winter on the third and fourth floors. The tree will top off into a beautiful magnolia tree on the fourth and fifth floor taking those who journey there into spring.

Adam Desaulniers, Information Systems Director at Beloit Health System, frequently uses the stairs as a healthy lifestyle choice and wants to encourage others to do the same.

“Many years ago, I read a book called the power of habit,” Desaulniers says. “The basis of the book is that positive habits ingrained in our day can help us achieve great things. This motivated me to choose to take the stairs every day at work. I love taking the stairs to get my heart rate up and burn a few calories along the way. With the Stairwell Project, I enjoy taking the stairs even more! I hope this project encourages the use of the stairs to engrain the power of positive habits in our employees resulting in improved health outcomes and fun!”

George Williams George Williams
Credit: Angela Major/ Janesville Gazette
During summer 2021, conversations with George Williams, Professor of Visual Arts at Beloit College, began.

Williams moved to Beloit with his family in the summer of 1999 from Southern California. When asked his vision for this project he responded, “I believe in the importance and significance of experiential learning, so much so that I embed the concept into many of my classes; I define experiential learning as learning that reaches beyond the confines of the classroom. I believe partnering with Beloit Health System will provide real-world experiences for the students, and simultaneously provide a service to the community.”

Williams brought the project to a few of his student artists with the challenge that they would plan out the scope and budget of the project.

On April 16, 2022, the project led by artists Brooke McCammond and Hannah Kang began to take shape starting with sketching the outline of the art, then the painting of the tree that goes from the first floor to the fifth floor, and starting in mid-May the flowers of the magnolia tree was added. The artists spent approximately 14 hours per week on the mural.

Brooke McCammond, from Beloit, has loved art ever since she was a little girl. She began to get more involved with art as a freshman in high school and then in her junior year she took an art history class.

When it came time to select a college, she chose Beloit College to stay close to family. Brooke’s degree is in Studio Art & Art History. She started painting in 2019 when she took Introduction to Painting taught by Williams whom she credits for her growth as an artist and entrepreneur. She looks forward to going back to school at some point to become an art educator and teach art in a high school.

Brooke shared, “ I am passionate about introducing students to art because of the positive impact it has on mental health.”

Hannah Kang, originally from Texas, has also loved art from a young age. Her passion for art was supported and encouraged by her parents and teachers in school.

In high school it became clear to her that art would be her pathway so when it came time to find a college, she began to look at brochures and catalogs for art programs. She discovered information on Beloit College and was drawn to the student-to-teacher ratio and the support they give to students. Hannah’s majors include Education and Studio Art. She is currently working on getting certified to teach art and is in the process of transitioning to Georgia to do her student teaching. Hannah shared, “I am passionate about connecting community to art and also utilizing my art as a form of activism.”

Both artists credit Williams in the development of their painting and for recommending this partnership project with Beloit Health System which has given them both an opportunity to grow their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

Williams shared,” I hope this project will empower students; they will understand and acquire knowledge related to the Business of Art, their communication skills will be heightened, and they will grow confidence that will hopefully sustain them throughout their lives.”

The next time you are at Beloit Memorial Hospital, take the main stairwell for a change in scenery.

Scope one of the project which includes the first, fourth, and fifth floors will be complete by July 31. The project is slated to be complete by the end of September. Beloit Health System looks forward to this continued partnership with Beloit College that will bring artists’ visions to life in other stairwells.

Reprinted from Beloit Health System with permission.

By: Beloit Health System staff
July 20, 2022

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