From the first time Abby Crafts walked through Shore Medical Center's new state-of-the-art surgical pavilion, she had a vision.
"This space screams, 'Art gallery,'" said Crafts, Shore's director of annual giving and the chairperson of its healing arts committee.
Crafts was one of two people charged with finding art to fill the wall space of the new 138,000-square-foot surgical pavilion, which opened in September 2011.
The other was Tami Kitchen, administrative director of Patient and Family Experience at Shore.
The architectural features of the surgical pavilion make a great backdrop for an art exhibit, Crafts said, including high ceilings, white walls, long curvy corridors and several floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light.
"We realized last summer that we needed art to fill the walls, so we were told to order it," Crafts said.
But she and Kitchen had a better idea. They decided to turn the area into an art gallery, rotating the work of local artists. Every six months, the works are swapped to feature a new set of regional artists, and all artwork is for sale, with proceeds benefiting the artists.
"Anyone can go online and buy art," Crafts said. "We want to make every effort to be involved with our community."
Shore Medical Center's Surgical Pavilion is now featuring its third art show since opening. The current exhibit features the work of about two dozen members of Arts on Asbury, a nonprofit group based in Ocean City, and about 10 art students from The Arc of Atlantic County, a nonprofit organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental needs. Arts on Asbury is made up of residents of both Atlantic and Cape May County.
Arts on Asbury members Sue Rau, of the Marmora section of Upper Township, and Thelma Snyder, of Somers Point, host weekly art classes with the students of The Arc. The Arc students created a series of poppy flower-themed artwork for the Shore Medical Center show.
Snyder said her students are thrilled to have their work included in the exhibit and already three pieces have sold.
"They are very proud of the beautiful work they've created," she said.
Rae Jaffe, of Ocean City, the Arts on Asbury liaison for this exhibit, who also has art hanging in the show, said the exhibit is "eclectic" and includes work in several art media, such as oils, watercolors and chalk. It also includes work of a variety of themes, including local landmarks, street scenes, abstracts, etc.
She said the only prerequisite set by Shore Medical Center was that the art be upbeat.
"We chose pieces that are pleasing to people," Jaffe said. "Nothing stressful or sterile, nothing too dark or too sober."
Crafts said one of Shore Medical Center's missions is to heal the whole patient, body and soul.
"Art helps to heal the soul," she said.
Contact Elisa Lala:
If you go
What: A public reception for Arts on Asbury and The Arc of Atlantic County on-going exhibit display at the Shore Medical Center. Light refreshments will be served. All artwork is for sale.
When: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16
Where: Shore Medical Center, Shore Road in Somers Point.
For info: Call 609-814-0308 or visit oceancityfineartsleague.org.