When Delta County Memorial Hospital committed to building a new clinic in Hotchkiss, it considered every detail. It wanted the best for the North Fork Valley community, and it wanted to be an integral part of the community. In making it a comfortable and attractive place to go, the hospital board decided early on to include artwork in its budget.
"Going to the clinic can be stressful," said DCMH Clinic Director Jan McCracken. But a photo or painting or a graceful sculpture can have a calming factor, and actually benefit patients. "It gives patients a chance to focus on something else. It just kind of takes you away."
DCMH, a publicly owned nonprofit hospital, included $20,000 artwork in the budget, said DCMH board member Jean Ceriani. It originally planned to purchase one very nice piece to display in the lobby. But with a little convincing, it shifted its focus toward the many talented artists in the North Fork Valley area. "We wanted this to be a community center," said Ceriani.
Tasked with outreach, Ceriani established an art committee and approached the North Fork Creative Coalition about having its member artists provide the artwork. The coalition manages the North Fork Valley Creative District, one of 18 certified creative districts in the state by the Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
Coalition board chair Susie Kaldis latched onto the concept, and put out a call to the local artists. "The response was great," said Kaldis. At the June 10 Delta Hospital Foundation fundraiser at Heritage Hall in Hotchkiss, NFVCC members brought numerous pieces for the art committee to consider.
The committee chose about 40 pieces by 23 North Fork artists, among them photos, paintings, and multimedia pieces for permanent exhibit in the clinic lobby, reception area and exam rooms. In addition, an installation by Paonia stick artist Ryan Strand and two glass sculptures by Nicole and Jared Davis of North Rim Glass Studio in Crawford will be on permanent exhibit in the lobby.
DCMH board members and coalition artists installed all the pieces in time for the clinic's Sept. 5 opening.
"It's a win-win," said Lowe. The artists receive 100 percent of the purchase price and get great exposure, and the coalition was able to attract several new members. "It's a great partnership between the hospital and the Creative Coalition," said Lowe. "It's a privilege to put $20,000 into the local arts community."
"The creativity in the valley is just incredible," said McCracken during last week's open house at the new West Elk Walk-In Clinic in Paonia. A $250,000 grant recently awarded by the Colorado Health Foundation helped purchase equipment and furnishings at the Hotchkiss clinic, and allowed DCMH to finish the clinic's interior "to the greatest degree."
The clinic is located at 230 E. Hotchkiss Ave., and can be reached at 872-3800. An open house at the Hotchkiss clinic is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.