Katherine Mitchell, For The Miami Student

Whoever said artwork doesn’t soothe the mind and heal the body was mistaken, at least according to employees at McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital.

The hospital has recently started putting together a program called “Healing Art.”

By displaying pieces of artwork around the hospital, employees hope it will put patients, staff and visitors at ease and help with the healing process, said Jean Vance, art consultant and curator for the exhibit.

Vance said she is very excited and cannot wait to see the pieces.

“It is well known that art can be healing, and so I did a project down at Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati, and when they contacted me on a bigger scale for McCullough-Hyde I was very interested. The original idea was to have a wall of art, but it expanded to wanting more original art that was more inviting to everyone.”

The goal is to have the hospital be more open and relaxing to everyone who walks through it, Vance said.

“It gives people something to do and something to look at,” she said.

According to Vance, there are going to be approximately 60 pieces of artwork chosen and local artists within a 50-mile radius can submit pieces.

Vance said according to the rules developed by the hospital, art will be displayed in the hospital for a year beginning in mid-April. After being displayed, the art can then be bought and new pieces will be displayed. There will be a new competition in April 2012 to determine the new pieces for the hospital.

Miami University junior fine arts major Alyssa Johansen said she was unaware of the contest but excited to hear about it.

“I would like to see some art that defies the natural limits of hospital paintings,” she said.

She said most hospital paintings tend to be sterile and uninteresting and if there was a way for the hospital to pick pieces that challenge monotonous landscapes, it would be cool to see.

“I would like to see something like a vibrant mural or a work inspirited by street art,” Johansen said. “This would look cool in such a contained space. Art that includes the greater context of modern life would insert some vibrancy that may be lacking in the Oxford hospital.”

Vance said she was unsure of what she wanted the art in the hospital to look like, but hoped it would be beautiful and enhance the hospital.

There will also be a plaque next to each piece on which the artist can write 75 words or less about the meaning and inspiration of the art so the viewer can understand it better.

“It is a competition, so out of whatever number of pieces are entered 60 will be chosen and then the committee of the hospital will choose four for the Purchase Awards,” Vance said.

A local artist and arts administrator, Nelly Bly Cogan, will decide which 60 pieces of art are going to be chosen for the exhibit. There will be a reception for the opening of “Healing Art” at a later date to be announced.

Vance said four lucky artists will receive Purchase Awards from the hospital in recognition of their art and will be eligible to win up to $4,000.

These pieces will also become permanent in the hospital collection.

“I want to make it clear that students can submit art,” Vance said. “Being an artist myself, I can say this type of project and recognition looks great on a résumé. Plus, there is the opportunity to win Purchase Awards as well.”

Entry forms to submit a piece of art are in brochures around Oxford.

Each entry is $15 and up to three may be entered on a CD. The deadline for entry is March 14. Interested artists can also contact Jean Vance at  jeanvanceartist@msn.com.