Emily Ketterer, For The Miami Student

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life,” Picasso said. McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital is doing just that and more with its second annual Healing Art project. For the past year, it has been displaying artwork by local artists throughout its halls in order to promote healing and wellness.

Walk through the halls of McCullough-Hyde and you notice little glimpses everywhere of pure local talent. Immediately at the nurses’ desk, a lively, vibrant jazz scene greets visitors. Wander down the hall and warm sunny watercolors intertwine with hauntingly beautiful photography. What is so exciting about the exhibit is its mingling with daily life and the function it serves as a healing conduit.

Looking around, paintings, watercolors and photographs from local artists begin to catch the eye and add depth to a space that could easily be sparse and cold. It’s hard to imagine what the hospital would look like a little over a year ago, without these artworks brightening and enlivening its halls.

Julie Nickell, the director of development at McCullough-Hyde, has been thrilled with the response. Despite not having hard statistics on how much it has helped patients, Nickell is confident in the change it has made in the hospital.

“It has been a huge success,” Nickell said. “We can tell just by how many people have commented on the artworks.”

Nickell also cited The Society for the Arts in Healthcare as their main resource for literature on how the arts can help in the healing process.

Despite not being able to be reached for comment on the topic, The Society for the Arts in Healthcare’s website said, “Arts in healthcare is a diverse, multidisciplinary field dedicated to transforming the healthcare experience by connecting people with the power of the arts at key moments in their lives.”

McCullough-Hyde’s project currently includes 60 pieces, all from local artists. However, they are looking to change out the collection and are calling on artists within a 50-mile radius to submit new entries for this year’s exhibit. The submission deadline is March 12.

Artist Nancy Nordloch Neville will be judging the artworks and several pieces will be for sale for $5,000 in Purchase Awards. The Purchase Awards are given to up to seven pieces that will be purchased for the hospital’s permanent collection.

“Not only will area artists be able to display and sell their work to a large new audience, they’ll have the opportunity to compete for the Purchase Awards,” Jean Vance, who is helping to manage the exhibit, said.

Sydney Fiedler, a recent visitor to McCullough-Hyde, was impressed by the quality of the artwork.

“I was really surprised to see how beautiful, interesting and unique every image was,” Fiedler said. ” They really make the hospital more homey and comfortable.”

Artists interested in submitting their work may contact Jean Vance at jeanvanceartist@msn.com. Those interested in sponsoring a Purchase Award to enhance the hospital’s permanent collection should contact Julie Nickell at 513-664-3850, or jnickell@mhmh.org.

A Healing Art Exhibit Opening Reception for the public and to introduce the artists and their work is scheduled for April 27.