Sep 20 2013

Gifts of Art names winners of annual UMHS Employee Art Exhibition

U-M Health System employees have a plethora of expertise and skills that help our patients and keep our institution operating efficiently. Now the artistic talents of our faculty and staff are on display through Oct. 7 in the Taubman South Lobby Gallery, level 1 in UH.

From traditional paintings to collages and photography, UMHS projects are featured as part of the 26th Employee Art Exhibition hosted by Gifts of Art. Winners of the exhibition were named at the Artists’ Reception & Awards Ceremony on Sept. 10.

Ten Best in Category awards and a Best in Show award were determined by guest juror Gunalan Nadarajan, dean of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. A Peoples’ Choice award was given by popular vote from patients, visitors and staff.

The host for the event was Julia Donovan Darlow, regent of the University of Michigan. Winners were selected from 112 pieces submitted by 71 artists and 22 family members of UMHS employees.

“Contributing employees view the Employee Art Exhibition as an opportunity to share a part of themselves, their creative side that they usually can’t share in their jobs,” says Gifts of Art Visual Arts Coordinator Kathi Talley.

Brenda Miller, B.F.A., parent coordinator in the Brandon Newborn Intensive Care Unit, won Best in Category for Collage and Mixed Media.  Millers’ piece is entitled “Salamander”.

“The inspiration for my piece is two-fold,” says Miller. “A nurse in our Newborn Intensive Care wrote a story about a family that was in the unit, with characters from nature. Our conversations resulted in illustrations of these creatures. In addition, the focus of my work has been conservation, sustainability and protecting the most vulnerable.”

Miller’s daughter, Emily Slomovits, won Peoples’ Choice for her work ‘Les Miserábles’.  The mosaic is based on the original book cover art done by Victor Hugo.

Emily Slomovits stands by her work ‘Les Miserábles’ which won Peoples’ Choice in the Employee Art Exhibition.

“For our senior art project at my school, we had to make a mosaic,” says Slomovits, who is a musician and loves musical theater.  “‘Les Miserábles’ is one of my favorite musicals. The picture is so iconic, and I thought it would lend itself well to the medium.”

Chris Hardy, a supervisor in Health Information Management, won Best in Show for his black and white photograph “At a Distance You’re Strong, Until the Wind Comes”.

“In this piece, I found an old abandoned farm house off some rural road,” says Hardy. “Seeing it alone, isolated and centered right in the middle of a large overgrown field, reminded me of strength and loneliness. This simple wooden covered house, with its one window barely hanging on, conveyed the contrast of being so desperately alone in such a vast space, but still having that desire to stand strong through the isolation and despair.”

Chris Hardy discusses his winning piece of Best in Show  “At a Distance You’re Strong, Until the Wind Comes,” with host Julia Donovan Darlow, regent of the University of Michigan.  (photo by Elizabeth Walker)

In his position at UMHS, Hardy helps oversee document imaging and manages health information for Electronic Health Records in MiChart, CareWeb and other systems.  Outside of work, he has always had a strong passion for art.

“In college, I was very interested in technology, web design and digital arts. I started carrying around a digital camera as often as I could and actually had some of the first consumer digital cameras that captured images onto a floppy disc. I started diving into editing programs early on and found I really enjoyed the photojournalist approach to documenting and editing images,” he says.

Hardy has been involved in several 365 day projects where he takes pictures every day of the year. He is also the president of a local photography group called Exposure Detroit.

I am grateful for the Gift of Arts program and the great work they do,” says Hardy. “I really appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the Employee Art Exhibition and look forward to it each year.  This is a great event and an awesome benefit given to our employees.”

To see a complete list of winners, click here. View the slideshow below for photos of winning pieces.

If you are interested in participating in next year’s employee art exhibit, contact

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