Art for your Health
Story and photos by: Ricky J. Carrasco
Many years ago, the typical hospital was an uninviting, sterile, cold fortress of medicine. Sierra Providence has been trying to fight that stereotype by creating an open place where the public is invited to be part of it. On Saturday, August 6th, Sierra Providence East hosted its 3rd annual “Art for Your Health” Best of Show art exhibition in conjunction with the Socorro Independent School District.
All 30 campuses within SISD participated, starting with 1600 art pieces submitted into each campus’ competition. Those 1600 individual artworks from kindergarten to 12th grade were whittled down to the 100 judged pieces that now grace the halls of the eastside hospital. The subject matter was as diverse as the kids who produced them. The pieces portrayed everything from ladybugs, sorcerers, and creative self-portraits using media that included paint, photography, metalwork, and computer graphics.
Sally Hurt-Steffen, CEO of Sierra Providence East, stated that they “wanted to make a bridge within the community. We appreciate the work shown here from the students, teachers and administrators for the district.” She spoke about the link of the arts and the hospital, “We (at the hospital) deal in the art of healing. There is a direct link to art and healing. If a patient can escape their pain, if even for a few minutes, then the art we display here and in the rest of our hospital has served its purpose.”
The exhibition is only one of several events throughout the year between Sierra Providence and SISD. First, Dr. Xavier De La Torre, SISD Superintendent, celebrated the fact that SISD is celebrating its 50th year. Further, he said to the gathered crowd of students, teachers, and hospital staff that, “we couldn’t ask for a better partnership between us and the hospital.”
Jan Deragisch, art teacher at Socorro Middle school, was in attendance to view the artwork, some even from her own students. Deragisch is a 36 year veteran teacher. When asked why she still teaches after so many years in the classroom, “I love my job! I like the freedom of expression I get from the students. I enjoy getting shy kids out of their shells. Many of our students don’t have self-esteem. If I can get my kids into shows like this, it sure does help.”
Many of the young artists were also in attendance. A common trait was their perfectionism. Alex Vargas, an 8th grader from Hambric Middle School, complained that he only had two weeks to complete his piece “Don’t Eyeball me.” He said he needed more time to finish adding shading and detail. Karisa Hernandez, a 7th grader from John Drugan School, was very happy to be part of the show. “It’s cool to be recognized for something you love to do!”