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Friday, December 19, 2014

The Grantsville Art Walk was a Success!

On December 11, 2014 the Grantsville Art Walk had a reception and silent auction at Penn Alps.  It was a lovely evening and the room was filled with friendship, culture and the giving feeling that abounds this time of year.

We set the minimum bid at 25.00 per piece. Many pieces sold well over their minimum bid and every single piece of art sold!  We raised over $800.00 for a selection of charitable causes.

We would like to thank all of the businesses that supported us during the month of the Art Walk by showing the work of the artists in their establishments.  Thank you Green Valley Foods, Blue Moon Antiques, 1st United Bank, Ruth Enlow Library, The Highland Thrift Shop, Medical Rehabilitation Systems, Somerset Trust, The Republican Newspaper, Buckel’s Laundromat, The Medicine Shoppe, Four Season’s Stitchery, Dr. Robin Bissell, Grant’s Mercantile and Kid’s Corner.  We especially want to thank the staff of Penn Alps for not only showing art for a month but for hosting a lovely reception.

The Children of Grantsville Elementary did their very best. Their work raised hundreds of dollars to support arts funding for their school.  Congratulations artists and teachers of Grantsville Elementary!

Mrs. Evan’s preschool class with a piece entitled “Fish”
Mrs. Bittinger’s Class with a piece entitled “Kites Fly High."

Mrs. Pfaff’s 1st grade project “Flower Vase.”

                              “The Casselman Bridge” created by Mrs. Rhoten’s 2nd grade class.

                               Mrs. Frantz's 3rd grade project “A Field of Flowers.”

McKenzie’s 3rd grade class and their painting of “Grantsville.”

Mrs. Wampler 4th grade class project “The Four Seasons.”
                                     “Birches and Butterflies” from Mrs. Paul’s 4th grade class.

“Paper Quilt” by Mrs. Upole’s 5th grade class. 

                                     “Birds on a Highline” from Mrs. Stark’s 5th grade class.

Thank you to all the artists who were willing to take part in this inaugural event!  I hope you return next year and it has been such an honor to get to know you better.  Thank you Phil Sorenson, Connie Stark, Carolyn Collen DuBose, Connie Garlitz, Joan Holliday, Marsha Warnick, Butch Buckel, Lisa Rounds and Jenny Beachy for participating as artists. 

(Pictured Connie Garlitz with her photography.)

(Pictured Lisa Rounds with her Jewelry)
(Pictured Marcia Warnick with her photography)

Thank you to my able assistant Susan Thatcher.  I am so glad you are part our lives!

Thank you everyone who came to the event. By purchasing art you donated funds to The Grantsville Parent Teacher Organization, Garrett County Mentors, Samantha Funds the Arts, The Rotary Christmas Tree Fund, Hart for Animals of Garret County, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the Ruth Enlow Library.

Since the auction last week people have been glowing in their praise of the art and the event itself.  We cannot wait to do it again next year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Business of Art

People often tell me that for an artist, I have a good understanding of business.  I would hope so!  I started working at the flea market in Sapulpa, Oklahoma at the age of seven.  I was paid two dollars a week under the table for my labors. I got first real job at the age of 15 as a teacher’s aid and part time art teacher at a summer school program.  The Private Industry Training Council of Sapulpa teamed local businesses with disadvantaged youths and helped pay part of our salaries.  So I owe my first job, and it was a job in the arts, to the willingness of businesses to work together to help the children of a small town get a chance to shine.

I am very happy to say that I have been able to pay that gift forward.

I now live in Grantsville, Maryland and I asked several businesses in Grantsville if they would be willing to take part in an inaugural Art Walk.  Fifteen businesses said, “Yes!” They are hosting guest adult artists and the work of local students.  The art was on display during business hours from November 13- December 11. At the close of the Grantsville Art Walk, an art reception and silent auction will be held 5-7pm on December 11 at Penn Alps Restaurant in Grantsville.  It will be open to the public. The funds raised by silent auction will go to the various charities chosen by the artists.

Green Valley Foods hosted Watercolorist Connie Stark. The funds raised from the auction of Connie’s piece “Amish Farm” will go to Hart for Animals of Garrett County.

BlueMoon Antiques hosted two jewelry artists: Jenny Knauff who is donating the proceeds from auctioning her jewelry to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Lisa Rounds who is donating her proceeds to The Ruth Enlow Library. (Pictured with art Margaret from Blue Moon Antiques)

Photographer Marcia Warnick’s work was displayed at 1st United Bank. “The White Dogwoods” proceeds are being donated to Samantha Funding the Arts. (pictured with art Blake from 1st United Bank)

The woodworking of Butch Buckel was displayed at the Ruth Enlow Library. Butch is donating the proceeds from his creation to the Grantsville Elementary PTO (Parent Teacher Organization).

TheHighland Thrift Shop hosted Photographer Phil Sorensen. 

Phil is donating two pieces to auction: “Garret County Barn” and “Sunburst” all proceeds will go to Garrett County Mentors.

MedicalRehabilitation Systems hosted the painted textile work of Regina Holliday and Joan Holliday.  As the work we are showing represents the advocacy movement known as The Walking Gallery, we are donating a materials basket with information about the movement. The proceeds from this basket will go to the Grantsville Elementary PTO.

Somerset Trust displayed the paintings of Carolyn Collen DuBose. She is donating “The Barn in Sheperdstown.” Carolyn was the art teacher at Grantsville Elementary and taught elelmentary art of 31 years. Her proceeds will also go to the Granstville Elementary PTO.

The work of Photographer Connie Garlitz was displayed at The Republican Newspaper office. “Flower with Hummingbirds” is the piece Connie is donating to support the Rotary Christmas Tree Fund.

The students of Grantsville Elementary are participating by displaying class creations in local businesses.  All proceeds of the children’s work will go to the Grantsville Elementary PTO to support continued education in the arts. 

The student work from Mrs. Wampler class “The Four Seasons” was displayed at Buckel’s Laundromat.

TheMedicine Shoppe displayed “Birches and Butterflies” from Mrs. Paul’s 4th grade class.

Four Season’s Stichery displayed “Paper Quilt” by Mrs. Upole’s 5th grade class.  

Dr.Robin Bissell’s office displayed “Birds on a High-line” from Mrs. Stark’s 5th grade class.

Grant’s Mercantile displayed Mrs. Pfaff’s 1st grade project “Flower Vase” and Mrs. Frantz’s 3rd grade project “A Field of Flowers.”

Penn Alps displayed the painting “The Casselman Bridge” created by Mrs. Rhoten’s 2nd grade class.

Kid’sCorner displayed the work of Mrs. Evan’s preschool class with a pice entitled “Fish” and the work of Mrs. Bittinger’s Class.  Their piece is entitled “Kites Fly High.”

The Republican Newspaper’s Grantsville office also hosted the work of Mrs. McKenzie’s 3rd grade class and their painting of “Grantsville.” 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rolling the Dice

I paint the patient story.  Many people know that.  Others who closely follow my work know that my focus in advocacy is patient data access and the patient/caregiver role in the implementation and use of HIT (Health Information Technology).

Last March, I was honored to do and interview with the elusive Tim from HIStalk about the current landscape in HIT. Tim is known only through his avatar and his writing. I met Lorre Wisham during the process of conducting the interview.  She is the public face of HIStalk. She attends conferences and oversees the day-to-day operations of HIStalk as the Chief Operating Officer.  She also has an avatar and that avatar is lovely.  The image is based upon her real face.  She almost seems like a Disney princess, the image in the looking glass, the fairest of the land. 

Lorre asked if she could join us in The Walking Gallery.  I read her story of pain and cried.  This is her jacket painting “Rolling the Dice.”  Here we see the other side: the mirror’s flipped reflection. Here the princess cries for all that are lost.

Lorre’s oldest daughter Danielle was a type 1 diabetic.  She was diagnosed at the age of 12.  She was a frequent visitor to emergency rooms and pediatric ICU for years. The smallest infection, like an ingrown toenail could upset her blood sugar.  The doctors and nurses seemed to be rolling the dice when it came to treatment options. Many times Lorre’s daughter was in the hospital, finally stable, and they would bring her lunch.  Lorre would tell the nurse that her daughter needed insulin if she was going to eat.  The nurse would look at Lorre with a withering glare and the nurse would say that she knew better. Unfortunately, she did not. Lorre’s daughter would say, “Mom, I think my blood sugar is high.” She was right.  Lorre had to covertly bring insulin with her to the hospital and administer it against medical advice.

Once Danielle’s blood sugar was frighteningly off. Lorre took her to the emergency department at the local hospital.  They stabilized her overnight. Lorre sat with her daughter and held her hand.  The next morning the hospital decided to transfer her to the Pediatric ICU at a nearby facility.  They removed her IV. Lorre and Danielle waited an hour for the ambulance to arrive.  Lorre asked about insulin but was told they could not administer insulin in an ambulance without a nurse present. Lorre’s prior experience with insulin was intrabolus and it lasted for hours, so she thought everything would be fine.  What Lorre didn’t realize was that when insulin is administered in an IV the effect is immediate, but ends immediately when the IV is removed.  

By the time they arrived at the second hospital and were able to admit her to the ICU, Danielle’s blood sugar was off of the charts again and she was in kytoacidosis.  They started the IV and added insulin.  She didn’t respond.  They ordered new insulin from the pharmacy.  By this time she lost consciousness, her blood gasses were off, and her brain started to swell.  There were three physicians there, including an endochroinologist.  They said they had done everything they could and she wasn’t responding.  They didn’t think she was going to make it.  She did survive that event and became conscious 12 hours later.

Lorre and Danielle were able to spend many lovely years together. If you look at Lorre’s facebook page you will see Lorre with her two daughters at Christmas time.  Sadly, Danielle died almost ten years ago in a car accident.  It was never determined if her blood sugar levels were a contributing factor.  

Lorre’s grandmother was hospitalized three years ago. When Lorre arrived at the facility her grandmother was in tears.  Lorre’s diabetic grandmother had been taking hydrocodone for pain every 4 hours at home.  She also took 16 other medications and carried a complete list in her purse.  She had arrived in the emergency department nine hours prior and still had not been given any insulin or pain medication.  Lorre and her husband both worked in Healthcare IT. They immediately went to the charge nurse and didn’t leave her side until Lorre’s grandmother received her medication.  When they talked with the nurse afterward, she admitted the emergency system and the hospital EMR (Electronic Medical Record) system weren’t integrated or interfaced.  The nurses on the floor had no way of knowing what occurred in the emergency department until the notes were entered much later.

Two years ago Lorre’s youngest daughter Brianne was in a skiing accident and ended up in the hospital in La Jolla, CA. She was diagnosed with pneumonia one month later.  Her lung was 70% filled with fluid and she wasn’t responding to the treatment.  Lorre kept telling the pulmonologist about the accident and he dismissed it.  Finally, Lorre asked Brianne to show the doctor a picture of herself purple from her neck to her buttocks and with a fractured collarbone. The doctor said, “Oh My God, there must be tissue damage.” Due to this patient reported data and accompanying image, the treatment plan changed.  Brianne was in inpatient care for 16 days and recovered.

While Brianne was in the hospital in La Jolla, Lorre’s husband learned he needed a liver biopsy in Tucson.  Lorre returned home. Her husband’s biopsy revealed liver disease.  They gave him a 50% chance of surviving for 30 days. Lorre thought of all of the reasons they could beat the odds.  They had good insurance, the ability to pay for additional attention, willingness to do whatever it takes and he was relatively young.  Lorre’s husband was admitted into the hospital on July 2, 2012.  She was very shocked by how present she needed to be just to keep everyone involved in treatment on the same page.  There were teams of physicians, new nurses every couple of days, and a rotating group of aides.  The staff was consistently forgetting his medication or mixing it up.  Lorre had to be ever vigilant about what her husband needed, but also what they were doing or failing to do. 

The physicians ordered so many tests. Lorre believed that if they did everything they were told to do, they would get through it.  Her husband contracted C-diff and hospital acquired pneumonia.  He started to suffer from anxiety and became terrified at night.  Lorre slept at the hospital and only left to shower and change clothes.  They were in the hospital for 16 days straight, when a brave nurse took Lorre aside and told her she was fighting a lost battle.  The nurse told Lorre one more hospital-acquired disease would be more than her husband could stand. He was dying. Lorre took him home and he died two days later.

On July 3, 2013 Lorre’s father was diagnosed with stage 4-pancreatic cancer.  He also lived in Tucson. Lorre took responsibility for him.  Each time he was hospitalized (always at the same hospital using and electronic medical record system), Lorre had to go through the medication list several times until they could agree that it was correct. Regardless, many, many times Lorre received a call at 6am from the hospital pharmacy asking her to clarify the orders or provide them in their entirety.  It was maddening to think that all of his information was in the system and literally a week after the prior visit they had to start from the beginning again.  Lorre’s father died in November 2013.

That is Lorre’s story of pain. I placed dice throughout this piece. A single die is placed next to everyone Lorre lost.  Each die is either pressing Lorre down or separating her from the one she loves.

I am sure that everyone who reads this can empathize with Lorre’s pain, but for those of us who work in technology and love the science behind evidence based medicine; the frustration in this tale is acute.  Though life itself can be a gamble, the protocol in medical care should never be a roll of the dice.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Top 10 Reasons we need The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing in Grantsville, MD

In the week since I started our crowdfund on Medstartr to help fund the creation of The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing some folks have had a few questions about this project.  Though I do not do list posts very often, I thought this would be the easiest way to explain why we need to create this center.  

10. People need space to create. 

I recently worked with the students in every class in Grantsville Elementary School as they created art for the Grantsville Art Walk.  That is 220 some children working with me and their art teacher Torria Quesenberry .  We met in Ms. Quesenberry’s classroom.  

We had a blast painting and the children did excellent work. Then I took 9 canvases and hundreds of painted rice paper sheets home and assembled the art into ten class creations.  This year I am very thankful I was able to do the assembly in the gallery space in my house.  (We gave up having a living room to have a gallery instead.) 

The last time I assembled this many class creations, I lived in a small apartment in Washington, DC. I can tell you from experience that doing large quantities of art in small spaces is very stressful on the artist and their family.  
We need space to create. We need rooms that can get messy and we can just shut the door.  We need a place to put our tools.  We need to be able to share those tools, because art can get very expensive and out of the economic reach if you have to buy everything for personal use. 

9. Painting can be very lonely.

You might have seen me painting at medical conferences around the world.  I am usually set up off to the side.  During every break the wonderful attendees come over to my easel.  We talk about their personal health stories and the power of art to heal.  The most important thing is: we talk.  Some people have noticed I do not paint Walking Gallery jackets as quickly when I am at home. There is a very good reason for that. 

At home, I paint alone.  I trudge down to my basement studio and paint for hours. Some artists may like this solitude, but I do not.  If I didn’t have the ability to listen to WAMU/NPR out of Washington or WFRB broadcasting from Finzel, I am not sure could complete my work.  I look forward with glee to the point when the painting is finished and I can get on Facebook and Twitter to post the pictures and “talk” with people again! Then I look over at the next jacket.  I pin it to its painting form.  I begin the process of priming it and painting alone.  

When my loving husband Fred was dying he worried.  He told me, “Reggie, you are going to be alone.  We both know you are not good at being alone.”  He is right.  Fred and I met 22 years ago in a painting class.  We were both sad and lost and we found each other.  We were never alone surrounded by stories, paint and each other.  Now he is gone and our sons remain.  Each day I work very hard at painting our family ever larger.  That family is The Walking Gallery and that family needs a home.

8. Children need to see the arts as highly valued in our society. 

The children are watching.  They are amazing information sponges.  They see that in school they have math and reading everyday but may only get art once a week.  Or perhaps they must choose.  They can take an art class or a music class or band, but not all three.  They can see that a town or a county will spend thousands on a soccer field, tennis courts and baseball diamonds, but not invest in outdoor easels and public art.

I know that art is the driving force that helped me through a very hard childhood.  I know having the opportunity to draw a picture and act in a play made all the difference in my life.  I know that I attended school and stayed in school because I loved my art class and my debate class.  We need places like The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing in the literal center of town, shining like a beacon of hope and creativity because people will see it and the children are watching.

7. We need a culture of healing in healthcare and not just a sickness model.

When I begin to explain what I do, people often interrupt with the question, “So are you an art therapist?”  I explain no.  Art therapy is great and art has so much power to heal.  But I use art in a way that goes beyond the therapeutic goal. I use art to share stories. I use art to create public policies that are patient centric and I focus my art on the world of healthcare. 

Right now there are many activists and advocates like myself focused on flipping the sickness model of care into a new culture of healing.  We talk with hospital executives and hear their concerns about a future of empty beds and lost revenue.  We counter with a different vision.  What if the hospital of tomorrow is an art-filled community hub, a fitness center and a play area for children, as well as a place that can provide needed emergent care?  Some CEOs scoff at this vision of tomorrow, but it is already happening throughout the country.  For example look to Eskenazi Health, a public city hospital, in Indianapolis; they have a public garden, a water feature to play in and dozens of commissioned pieces of art throughout the grounds of their facility.   Just read the words of CEO Lisa E. Harris, MD:

So this really edgy concept of hospitals embracing the arts is becoming mainstream.  Now let’s do something really innovative; let’s build an art center that embraces medicine.

6. Communities need a place to congregate that is not centered on eating.

For many years my family lived in a small apartment and it would often get very claustrophobic.  On nice days we could go to the park, but in winter the options were few and far between.  We could go to stores and spend money that we could scarce afford or we could go out to eat.  The problem with frequently going out to eat is that the caloric load is very high, especially in the types of food establishments a poor family can afford.  As a person who is very plump, I try to find public events and venues that allow congregation, but are not centered on food.

Art classes, health workshops and family game nights are all wonderful ways to utilize our future center without adding to the national obesity crisis. 

5. Where can you exercise, dance and play when the town park is covered in snow? 

Speaking of winter, where do you exercise when there is 12 inches of snow in your backyard?  Some folks are able to have a room just for indoor exercise equipment, but most of us do not have the space or income to afford a personal gym.  On top of that, exercising alone can be just as bad as painting alone.  Why do you think gyms are so popular?  It is not just because they have a wide array of equipment.  And I don’t know about you, but I would love to get my calories burnt in exciting game of dodge ball, four-square or in a dance class.  We will have those options at our center even if there is two feet of snow outside.

4. Creative Placemaking is really happening, check it out! 

Around the nation a movement is building called Creative Placemaking:

In September, I was able to attend a Creative Placemaking Summit in Cumberland, Maryland hosted by the Allegany Arts Council. Across the nation hacker spaces, maker spaces and art bars are cropping up.  In Garret County we already have a business incubator hub in McHenry and a maker space in Accident.  It just makes economic and geographic sense to have and Arts Center in Grantsville.

3. You can’t build an international movement without wifi.

If you are familiar with Grantsville, you will know it is very accessible.  Our town is right off Interstate 68 and is intersected by the National Pike/Route 40. The community is bookended by Route 669 and Route 219.

The town is also wired for high-speed internet through Comcast cables.  Now for many of my readers who live in big cities that may not seem very important, but in this mostly rural area it is a very big deal indeed.  Many of our geographically close neighbors have to deal with the frequent outages of satellite internet.  We can provide the community hub space that is so very needed in this day and age. 

This space can also be the command center as we plan #Cinderblocks2: The Partnership with Patients Continues. (You can register here!)  #Cinderblocks2 will bring 150 people to Grantsville in early June of 2015. We hope to make it an annual tradition, a sort of Burning Man meets Healthcare. 

2. Some of us need a safe place to go. 

For many years I suffered abuse as a child.  I would not often talk about it, but I wrote about it and I drew about it. I hoped my teachers would act, but they never did in an obvious way.  That was another time and another place.  Today we are supposed help those who are in abusive situations.  Sometimes you can even prevent some abuse through better use of space and free time.  It is very hard for a family to be stuck in a small space in a long winter.  It helps if there is a safe place that you can go and play.

In addition, throughout this past year many patients and artists have reached me. They have asked for help.  They need a place to stay; they need a place to heal.  They need the mentorship of a strong advocate and the embrace of a loving community. That place can be this center.

1.  I am rooted here.

I have lived in so many places in my long and winding life.  We always rented; we always moved.  The Uhaul truck became a familiar friend.  In 2009, my husband Fred died and was buried here in Grantsville. Our children place toys upon his grave.  He lies two blocks from our home, three blocks from our Church and four blocks from his parent’s house.  He walks with us in spirit. 

On December 5, 1983, Fred’s childhood home caught fire and burnt.  This town rallied around the Holliday family.  The Amish, the Mennonites and the lovely citizens of this town, helped the family slowly rebuild.  While the house was rebuilt, Fred and his family stayed in the green house next door.  That house is the building that I hope becomes The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing.  I hope it can embrace others like it embraced Fred.

People ask me, “Why create The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing in Grantsville, Maryland?" I say because this place is quiet, kind and peaceful.  This town can help others as visitors can help Grantsville continue to thrive. But most of all because I founded The Walking Gallery of Healthcare.  The Gallery must grow, must walk; but I am its roots, and I am rooted here.

Please support this project here on Medstartr.  Thank you all and God bless.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing

When I was a young girl I struggled to read.  In fourth grade I had a teacher that helped me beyond measure.  She taught me how to read well.  She cast me in the play Oklahoma.  She encouraged me to write and draw.  By 5th grade I was reading chapter books all by myself.   My favorite books were all of the Little House books, A Little Princess, Pollyanna and Heidi.

The pint-sized heroines inspired me with their ability to overcome adversity.  I loved the idea of imagining and then creating a beautiful world within a cold dark attic.  I could envision a rainbow of color hidden in chandelier glass and play the game of always thinking of something to be glad about.  I could understand the allure of returning to healthy mountain air over the coal dust vapors of a Victorian city.

I have never forgotten these lessons of my youth.  I know the power of hope and friendship can heal so many wounds of the spirit.  Now I am an adult with a responsibility to spread goodness in a world that is often filled with sorrow.

I live in a small town teaming with young children and adults yearning to create. They want to draw and dance and paint, but in the winter opportunities to do such things are few and far between.

I work with patient advocates and medical providers from around the nation who cry out to me.  They tell me their sorrow and I paint it on their back; but sometimes they need more.  Sometimes they need a place to rest and reignite their fiery passion.  

I created a movement called The Walking Gallery and I need others who will paint with me and help to spread the patient voice. We need the space and time to turn hundreds of jackets into thousands.

So I ask you to help me build a vision into a reality.

In the healthy mountain air of Grantsville, Maryland I want to create The Walking Gallery Center for Arts and Healing.  There is a 100 year-old building here that was once the home and office of the town doctor and his artist wife. The history of this building matches the vision of the Center.

When you walk in the door there is chandelier that is filled with a promise of rainbows.  There are rooms that will be galleries and rooms that will fill with laughter and dance.  There are bedrooms that will refresh the weary patient and inspire the striving artist.

All this will come to be if we work together and turn a vision into reality.  

We have 40 days to raise enough money to begin the process of securing this building.  I think we can do it, but not without your help.  Cancer 101 has agreed once again to act as our grant partner in this crowdfund, so all donations will be tax deductible. 

To quote the words of Pollyanna, “It’ll be just lovely for you to play…It’ll be so hard.  And there’s so much more fun when it is hard.”  

Thank You,

Regina Holliday