New Murals Installed at Gibson Area Hospital with a Nod to Our History!
As a 5 Star Hospital for Patient Experience, every detail counts, no matter how big or small. Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services (GAHHS) wanted to improve the view from patient rooms that overlook the rooftop. Instead of looking out at a brick wall, we wanted to offer a more pleasing view. It would be really intriguing if we could have a mural created to add interest. But not just any mural…a mural that kept with the fabric of our communities and of GAHHS history! In keeping with the anniversary of our 70th year, we set out to find someone that could make his idea a reality; a mural that is both aesthetically pleasing and in touch with the history of GAHHS. Kat Streenz, Executive Administrative Assistant at GAHHS, mentioned she might know just the person!
Que artist Deana Schoolcraft. Deana was born in Saybrook, IL. She was a former resident of Gibson City and currently resides in Downs, IL. Deana worked for GAHHS through nursing school and in 1992, as a nurse in the OB department. After 28 years in the nursing profession, Deana retired from nursing to pursue her passion for painting. So it seemed only right to ask Deana to take on this new idea and turn it into a reality. And boy did she deliver! Not just any mural, but a huge, 53’ plus long, connected mural of a Panorama of Gibson City and the DK Roth farmstead. Keeping with our roots was very important for this project, and Deana knocked it out of the park!
Deana reflected on a time when she and Dr. Supawanich connected through their love of painting. “When I worked at GAHHS, I recall that Dr. Supawanich painted a lot. He asked me to bring in one of my larger paintings and sat with me for quite a while talking shop and asking about some of my painting techniques and practices. He brought in one of his paintings as well and asked what he could do to improve it. He was so impressed with the newbie nurse, and I was just as impressed with his openness and willingness to reach out.”
Deana indulged us with the idea and planned very carefully to deliver an amazing piece of art. “This art project really pushed me out of my comfort zone and took me to a place of increased learning on many counts. My art pals thought I was crazy for accepting such an assignment just because of the sheer size, especially the 53 ft. piece. I encountered my first obstacle just trying to find a venue large enough in which to assemble the panels side-by-side in order to paint them. Matt Erickson, at Come Together Art in Bloomington, saved my life and kindly allowed me 6 weeks to paint on the second floor of his art studios. He even hung the panels for me. Another obstacle was simply deciding what to paint. For the panorama of Gibson City, I was all over the countryside gathering many, many photo references. I took all of those, along with some shots Vickie Zehr of Saybrook had taken and came up with what you see there now. The others are all enlarged from past paintings I have sold which depict the farmland and sky here in central IL. I also had great fun doing some research on the founding fathers of the hospital, DK Roth and Mr. McMillan. The panorama is a tip of my hat to Mr. McMillan who was involved in the Ag industry in Gibson City; the Roth farm mural is a nod to DK Roth who was an Angus cattle and grain farmer. I found the original farm 2 miles south on Rte 47 and had a great time connecting with family who still live in the area. Thanks to former Gibson City resident Jan (Noble) Culbertson, who is DK’s granddaughter and who is a nurse and artist as well. She supplied some great photos of the barns as they appeared years ago. Folks my age can remember the Angus cow head painting on the main barn. You can still make out a faded image today.”
We couldn’t be more pleased with our vision coming to fruition and we are grateful for the talent that Deana has blessed us with. We hope that our murals provide our patients with a more pleasant viewing experience while they are here with us. The “art” of healing takes on many forms. “Although I’m not actively involved in the healing art of nursing right now, I like to think that I’m still contributing to the healing and well-being of patients there where I began my journey as a nurse. It’s just a different kind of art. What a sweet, full-circle kind of experience it has been for me.”
You can view Deana’s artwork at www.DeanaMooreSchoolcraft.com or on Facebook at Deana Moore Schoolcraft Fine Art.