2nd annual heART show uses creativity to draw awareness of cardiac health

Published 4:00 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

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Many people gather inside Clark Regional Medical Center  (CRMC) for various reasons each day. 

Fortunately, on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 21, those gathering just to the right of the main entrance did so for a positive cause. 

The 2nd annual heART Show at CRMC occurred, with approximately 35 entries and many from the community in attendance for viewing purposes. 

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“We work with the art students at GRC, and they submit an art piece based on a prompt about heart health,” said Savannah Sullivan, director of marketing and communications for Lifepoint Health Central Kentucky. “Heart disease is the number one cause of death, and so really anything that we can do to help shed light on what folks need to be paying attention to is important for us.” 

In addition to CRMC, three other local hospitals – Bluegrass Community Hospital, Bourbon Community Hospital, and Georgetown Community Hospital – are participating in such events during February. 

The artwork was on display on canvas, with both judges and attendees having an opportunity to walk around and react to each other and enjoy snacks that were available.

Ashley Brinker, one of the GRC art teachers who helped lead students through the project, mentioned that they got pretty creative in their approach to the work. 

“Some of these canvases have been painted with acrylic, some have been painted with oil pastels. A lot of them are mixed media,” Brinker said. “We have a lot of 3D art pieces, either fibers – whether they like knitted things, or even use clay.” 

One such example was a work of art by Justin Turner, which featured a heart with a smiley face and thumbs up and – on another section of the canvas – a list of heart healthy ideas such as avoiding smoking and getting plenty of sleep. 

Students also had a quote or description to go with each of their pieces, a difference from last year’s event. 

For example, a piece of artwork by GRC sophomore Karlee White stated: “Music is good for your mental health. Having good mental health helps your heart and soul.” 

While many GRC students worked on their art in class, others did so outside of class. 

The students participating were Joy Thomas, Destiny Bartley, Zander Miller, Skylar Jude, Leif Sparks, Paige McCormack, Connor McKinney, Bella Gratto, Kassie Lane, Jaylen Overbee, Ella Vanhooser, Justin Turner, Leah Steward, Cara Riddle, Kai Veal, Shiann Mullins, Michelle Mejia-Blanco, Karlee Whitt, Aanyah Betancur, Gabriella Andrade, Joey Hill, Olivia Adams, Kaitlen Mullins, Emma Bush, Kasaundra Withrow, Sophie Ward, Abby Combs, Hannah Lam, Phillip Greer, Bailey Conlee, Evelyn Wood, Addison Salcido, Keeley Hall, Savannah Angel, and Cassidy Seals-Benavides. 

As a part of the show, judges determined which artwork they felt was the most exquisite based on qualities that included creativity, use of elements and principles, craftsmanship and skill development, understanding, achievement, and completion, and participation, focus, and effort. 

The victor received a $500 cash scholarship.

Before announcing it, Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed – who helped judge the contest – was one of several people – including CRMC CEO Matt Smith – who spoke. 

“I want to say thank you to the kids. I want to thank you for the work that you did and for the caring that you put into what you did,” Reed said. 

Ultimately, senior Leif Sparks – who unfortunately couldn’t be in attendance – took home the prize. 

Sparks’ canvas featured a heart made out of air dry clay, surrounded by dried flowers as well as dried mushrooms and moss, making it appear as though they were blooming. 

“She sculpted that [heart] in her hands, painted layers and layers of acrylic paint, E-6000 super glued it to a backing, and then she just put her final touches on it. She had probably [worked] 30 hours on that piece,” Brinker said. 

Sullivan was quick to respond when asked what helped the event grow to 35 from approximately 20 students last year. 

“I think probably word of mouth. The kids that participated [previously] really had a good time,” she said. “I think working with the teachers has been great. They have really encouraged the kids to participate.”