Celebration of local talent lines the walls of Allegheny Hospital
People usually don't visit a hospital because they want to be there.
Now there's a reason to stop this month at Allegheny Valley Hospital, Natrona Heights that doesn't involve a medical issue. A joint exhibit and sale of photographs and artwork is under way daily through June 30 in the hospital lobby.
The celebration of local talent — featuring members of New Kensington Camera Club and Allegheny Valley League of Artists — is raising money for the volunteer work of the hospital auxiliary.
“The auxiliary works very hard to benefit the hospital,” says photographer Bridget Benton of Brackenridge, who has organized the show.
She and her photographer husband Andrew Benton like to take photos of people, places and nature. “We want our photos to catch a moment in time and tell a story,” she says.
Don Henderson of New Kensington, president and a founder of the New Kensington Camera Club, likes the idea that the creativity on display may provide some comfort to people and their families.
“I hope these photos will have a calming effect on people,” he says.
Photographer Joyce Shellhammer of Parks Township agrees.
“I appreciate that the hospital does these exhibits that not only get art and photography to an audience who may not consider walking into a gallery as a form of entertainment, but also offers a wide variety of would-be gifts that could brighten a patient's day,” she says. In addition to being able to support a commendable cause, Harry Shipman of New Kensington sees the show as an opportunity to present his work to people who may never have visited the New Kensington Arts Center, where his photographs are usually showcased.
“When I'm able to capture an image that gives me a peaceful feeling, I hope that others are able to share that emotion,” he says.
Apollo native Cam Miller, now residing in Pittsburgh, says she deliberately entered “happy, peaceful” photos in the show. “I thought perhaps someone who had a loved one in the hospital might want to buy something pretty to cheer them up, or celebrate recovery, rather than real flowers that would just fade away,” she explains.
Exhibiting in a new venue is always appreciated.
“The folks in the camera club are some of the best people I know, and I'm always happy when the club gets the opportunity to spread some cheer around the valley and perhaps give some other budding photographers a chance to find support,” Miller says.
Lower Burrell's James Sabulsky decided that after the cold winter we experienced, a little color was called for in his entries, some of the first blossoms of spring in Pittsburgh.
Robert Sudy wants to give viewers “the feeling of being there” in his photos. And, while someone deciding to purchase one of his works is a bit like applause, he says he really loves to interact with a prospective buyer and learn what motivates their interest in a particular photo.
“It's always a great feeling when someone stops and lets you know how much they admire your work,” adds Shipman, “ but to purchase and take something home with them is an honor and gives a real feeling of accomplishment.”
Patricia Dickun of Washington Township welcomes the opportunity to have her art be seen in such a public place. She wants to leave viewers of her still life oils with “a good feeling or pleasant memory.”
The goal of Carol Malak of Lower Burrell is to brighten someone's day with her paintings of sunflowers, a favorite of hers. “I love bright yellow,” she says.
“This is my first entry. I am happy to meet so many great and talented painters,” she says.
Shellhammer hopes that shows like the hospital is hosting will bring new people to find an interest in some form of art.
“Life is so hectic that each of us needs an outlet to be creative,” she explains, “to unwind and create something beautiful.”
Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.