For Immediate Release: May 24, 2013
In collaboration with the Atlantic City School District and Senator William L. Gormley, the AtlantiCare Foundation Healing Arts Program held a reception for and exhibited the works of 40 Atlantic City School District students, ranging from grades two to 12, who participated in the district’s Jacob Lawrence Project. During the May 21 reception, AtlantiCare displayed the district’s contest winners’ works on easels and the remaining participants’ works in the George F. Lynn Harmony Pavilion of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Atlantic City Campus in the hospital’s public art area.
The students ranging from age seven to 18 were involved in a collaborative art learning experience and contest project supported by the Atlantic City Art Academy; Atlantic City High School Community Arts Club; local educators; DLA Piper, Atlantic City, New Jersey; Senator William L. Gormley and his wife Ginny; South Jersey Industries, Folsom, New Jersey; and Michael Goldberg, (ACHS Class of 2011). The project, which began October, 2012, featured the life, art, and times of Atlantic City-born artist, the late Jacob Lawrence, as the focal point. It involved all grades and subject matters, along with students in after school programs, in this New Jersey and Core Content Curriculum-infused initiative. Former Senator William Gormley and his wife Ginny Gormley had recommended the focus on Lawrence after the former senator learned about the artist’s Atlantic City history from author Nelson Johnson. Through their Atlantic City Friends of Music program in Atlantic City’s public schools, the Gormleys collaborated with Donna Haye, superintendent, Atlantic City Public Schools, to expand the school district’s arts programs.
“The students were emulating a role model for Atlantic City, but they’re role models for the future of Atlantic City,” said Gormley. “They’re a group of young people that we can be proud of who distinguished the city in terms of their accomplishments and their interests. Their art is incredible.” Gormley thanked the partners and supporters of the project.
“This is just a wonderful experience, to have their work displayed at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Atlantic City Campus and to have a reception for them,” said Haye, “I hope it really inspires them to go forward with their artistic endeavors.”
“What you will see on the walls of our public art space – and on these easels – is the students’ interpretations of Jacob Lawrence’s style,” said David Tilton, president and CEO, AtlantiCare. “But beyond the colors and the canvases - is the life-long impression the Atlantic City-born artist – and those who sponsored this program – will likely have had on these students. At AtlantiCare, we achieve our of vision of building a healthy community inside – and outside these hospital walls – through partnerships. We are pleased to partner with the Gormleys, The Atlantic City School District and all collaborators and supporters of the Jacob Lawrence Project.”
“You should be proud of the works you have done, Margaret Belfield, chief operating officer, ARMC, told the students. “As your community hospital, we care about you and your families. That’s why AtlantiCare wanted to display your work and celebrate your accomplishment. I know when our patients, their families and our physicians and staff walk past your paintings, their experience of being in the hospital – or their work day – will be a better one.”
“Thanks to the encouragement and support of our sponsors, the students’ learning experiences have included Jacob Lawrence-focused field trips and learning adventures beyond the classroom,” said Jennifer Pullman, PhD, art educator and Jacob Lawrence Program co-facilitator with Ernest Cheatham. “The students especially benefited from their visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, where they had the opportunity to view Jacob Lawrence’s work. The students also participated in a unique Jacob Lawrence-themed program at the Drumthwacket – the Governor’s Mansion, in Princeton, New Jersey.” Pullman said the district displayed the students’ works at a Jacob Lawrence Day at Atlantic City High School April 25. She explained that in addition to the exhibit, the special day featured videos, guest speakers, historic displays and other learning opportunities based on the life and work of Jacob Lawrence. “Our collaboration with AtlantiCare’s Healing Arts Program unfolded quite naturally, thanks to our common interests in supporting the people in our community through inspiring arts experiences,” said Pullman. “When we met with David Tilton, and other representatives of AtlantiCare, we were amazed at the exiting artwork in the beautiful ARMC Atlantic City Campus. We are pleased AtlantiCare is recognizing these students; excited to continue our exhibit there and proud of the works these young artists have created.”
“Learning about Jacob Lawrence opened a new way of thinking about making art for me,” said Natalie Gallagher, a 17 year old Atlantic City High School senior who was among the participants. “I’d never painted anything like his style. It gave me a feeling of freedom to express my own life proudly. I really enjoyed it because it incorporated so many things—history, religion, daily life—in a beautiful, simple, but powerful style.”
During the reception, Tilton presented Medina Peyton, principal, Sovereign Avenue School, Atlantic City, with a print of Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series #58, in recognition of her support of the Arts. The School District persented Peyton with a portrait of her late father, Dr. Charles Wilson, that Pullman had made for her.
About AtlantiCare’s Healing Arts Program
Through its Healing Arts Program, AtlantiCare incorporates artwork in the healthcare setting with a goal of creating a healing, serene environment. AtlantiCare dedicates one percent of all new building costs to the commission of artwork by local and regional artists. The Program includes a public art exhibition featuring local and regional artists in the George F. Lynn Harmony Pavilion at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Atlantic City Campus.
AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,461 employees and 600 physicians serve the community in more than 60 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008.