Employee art show is back and better than ever – Michigan Medicine Headlines

This year’s Gifts of Art employee art exhibition is unlike any other. That’s because after a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19, the art gallery created by Michigan Medical School, staff, and family members is back – this both in person and in online form.

This grants access to the show for those who still can’t make it to campus (and many took advantage, as an incredible 658 votes were cast online for the People’s Choice Award during the voting process).

What has not changed this year? The fact that colleagues show their incredible creativity and talents.

Cecile Hollinshead, PA-C, with her two awards.

A focus on the first line

This year, medical assistant Cecile Hollinshead won two of the show’s most coveted awards: the People’s Choice Award and the Best in Show. And she did it with works of art that shed light on those who have been at the forefront during the pandemic.

Hollinshead’s Michigan Medicine Front-line Heroes photo collages are made up of images she took of teachers and staff working in adult and children’s emergency departments during the height of the pandemic.

“I am honored and touched by the support and recognition of this work,” said Hollinshead, who considers herself an amateur photographer who has been practicing her craft for the past 20 years.

“It was to be a one-day project at the start of the pandemic,” she continued. “It all started with photos of 64 colleagues, focusing on their eyes. This is because back then we were learning how much we usually use the rest of our face to communicate since our mouths were covered in masks.

Hollinshead then superimposed a large number of photos over an individual’s photo, creating his award-winning mosaics.

“Back then our motto was ‘We’re in the same boat’, and the creation of these works of art only exemplified that team effort,” Hollinshead said. “It all made sense.”

“It’s so powerful”

The landmark pieces made a strong impression on those who saw them.

“It’s so powerful,” began a comment from a Michigan Medicine employee. “Images [show so many of the] frontline staff who have served, sacrificed and provided extraordinary care every day – and especially in these difficult and emotionally difficult times. It makes me even more grateful to them.

Hollinshead’s work also had an impact on those she photographed.

“Cecile has been great in capturing our staff during the pandemic,” said an emergency team member. “She boosted morale in the department and reminded everyone that we are working as a team and that we are going to go through this together.”

Hollinshead has heard similar comments from his colleagues.

“Each person noticed that their mosaic photo meant a lot to them – it created something positive when we all needed it. “

More eye-catching work

Another piece took inspiration from the ongoing pandemic challenges – and arouses emotions in viewers.

“COVID”, a charcoal drawing by Lisa Reber, a researcher in physical medicine and rehabilitation, shows a distraught individual sitting in a chair.

“It immediately caught my attention as it captures what we all felt in 2020,” said a frontline worker who saw the piece. “Seeing this drawing is not easy, but it is true.”

Another employee was also touched by the artwork: “It captures something about me that brings out my emotions in a way that even surprised me. Thanks for creating it. “

This year’s winners

A total of 65 works of art were submitted for this year’s exhibition. The youngest artist was 14 and the oldest 94.

The juror for the 2021 exhibition was Nan Plummer. She has served as Executive Director of Artrain, Deputy Director of Programs and Associate Director of the Museum Practice Program at the UM Museum of Art, Education Officer at the Toledo Museum of Art, and Executive Director of the Arkansas Arts Center. Plummer is currently Executive Director of Treeline Conservancy in Ann Arbor and owner of 22 North Gallery in Ypsilanti.

Plummer was assisted by Maggie Spencer, Director of Operations at Riverside Arts Center and Assistant Curator at 22 North Gallery.

If you haven’t seen this year’s show, don’t worry, there is still time! The in-person exhibition will be on display until December 3 in the Gifts of Art gallery on the first floor of the Taubman Health Center (south lobby).

You can also check parts online and a slideshow of the winners above.

Here’s a full rundown of this year’s winners:


Winner: Teamwork: strength in numbers by Pam Householder, Taubman General Practice Clinic
Honorable mention: Untitled by Dawn Kleindorfer, neurology

Drawing & Pastel

Winner: Afternoon on an island by Miwa Kitahata, wife of Jean-Marc Fontaine, biological chemistry
Honorable mention: The protector by Caleah Vella, granddaughter of April Malis, heart surgery

Collage and mixed media:

Winner: Art is therapy by Merideth Sauvé, Nursing Secretarial Services

Black and white photography

Winner: Burton Memorial Tower by Thomas Rode, School of Kinesiology

Color photography

Winner: Blue heron on my shoulder by Sandra Hess, quality analysis
Honorable mention: Sandbox by Cathy Enochs, pediatric pulmonology

Fiber arts

Winner: Pandemic by Nan Weber, CVC 3e ground clinic
Honorable mention: The village by Karen L. Scanlon, School of Nursing

Watercolor painting

Winner: 40 years by Megan EB Foldenauer, neurosurgery
Honorable mention: Sunset over Malta by Paul Farr, father of Will Farr, outpatient rehabilitation and speech therapy

Ceramics & Glassware

Winner: Deco Vases by Julianne Walsh, medical school facilities
Honorable mention: Sisters (proud, melancholy and fearless) by Jean-Marc Fontaine, biological chemistry

Sculpture & Assembly

Winner: Jurassic Park Mailbox by Tamara Havermahl, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Honorable mention: University of Michigan Nutcracker by Jane F. Riebe-Rodgers, pediatric trauma

Public Prize: Michigan’s frontline medical hero by Cecille Hollinshead, Emergency Department

Best of Show: Michigan’s frontline medical hero by Cecille Hollinshead, Emergency Department

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