Lou Brady, president and CEO of Worcester Family Health Center, isn’t one to sit in his office with the door closed. Just a few weeks ago, he spent the entire day shadowing one of FHC’s physicians, Dr. Katharine Barnard, to gain a more authentic understanding of the patient and provider experience.
“It can be quite easy to forget why you’re here if you spend all day in the shoes of a big boy, staring at screens and monitors,” Brady joked.
The first patient he visited with Dr. Barnard was a recent immigrant in her forties who had just discovered she was pregnant.
“She talked about the struggles of being homeless and undocumented – figuring out how to support her family while being unemployed with many of her other children still in her home country,” Brady recalled. “I was so impressed with the ballet of care that came together around this particular individual.” Moreover, he witnessed the sincerity and empathy with which the patient was treated. “The most healing thing Dr. Barnard did was not the prescription she wrote,” Brady said, “It was the way she comforted the woman and said, ‘I am here with you; I’m here for you,” when the woman began to shed tears.
The day progressed similarly, Dr. Barnard cared for the physical and emotional needs of his patients, and Brady saw one community member after another access sophisticated systems that allowed them the dignity of participate fully in their own care.
Brady is grateful to all of FHC’s supporters, big and small, citing the Fuller and Fletcher Foundations respectively. He also praised Jack and Robin Foley, and their daughter Lindsay, for building the Center’s work by organizing key fundraisers like Art in the City. This year, Art in the City will take place as a 12-day virtual auction from May 31 to June 11, featuring works created by dozens of regional artists. All proceeds will go towards FHC’s general operating costs to ensure access to affordable, high-quality, integrated, comprehensive and respectful primary health care and social services, regardless of patients’ ability to pay.
Here is a sample of the artists and their works that will be auctioned:
Artist: Jaclyn Penny
job title: “Worcester city center at the turn of the century”
Medium and Dimensions: Watercolor on paper, 12×16
Artist statement“I was exploring old images of Worcester – buildings and spaces that are still there today but have new purposes and meanings. Many of these photographs and images were in black and white. I decided to redrawing them and ‘coloring’ them with watercolors; I created three watercolors I didn’t create this piece for a specific job or project, but was just playing with adding a new dimension to the old city. I thought it was an appropriate piece to give to Art in the City.
Artist’s connection to Family Health Center and/or Worcester“Several years ago I wrote and illustrated a picture book called ‘Goodnight Worcester.’ I visited and researched many institutions and places in the city to create something that captured Worcester for my children.Since that project I have become interested in the space, plan and changes of Worcester.I think the city is more than the physical landscape; it may seem grand and inaccessible to children. But I think it can be translated for them. Mine especially like colorful works!
What else should bidders know?“I have been donating to this event for five years. I admire what the Family Health Center does in the community, especially through this fundraiser. We’ve all had to adapt in recent years, and the fact that Art in the City moved to an online auction format during COVID may be a great model. Being a part-time artist living in the city, I think we wonder how and where we put our resources and where there could be the most impact. The Family Health Center provides equitable health services to all populations in Worcester. It’s pretty special and I hope most of the artists and citizens of this city can support.
Artist: Hank von Hellion
job title: “Such sighs to show you”
Medium and Dimensions: Acrylic painting on wood, 10.75”x10.15” unframed and 17”x17” framed
Artist statement“I wanted to create something reminiscent of my youth. A piece that spoke to me of a kind of universal childlike love for all things sticky, messy and spooky without resorting to artificial preciousness.
Artist’s connection to Family Health Center and/or Worcester: “Growing up, my own mother struggled as a single mother of color. Much like parents today, she often struggled to choose the best way to invest in our future, one day at a time. times; providing needed health care to families in financial difficulty is a huge financial burden. It’s a burden I understand seeing my own mother struggle with, and I feel privileged to be in a sufficiently safe space in my own life so I can support the kind of accessibility that FHC provides to other struggling families and all disadvantaged communities.”
What else should bidders know?“Not all ethnic arts need look like a Paul Simon World Music concert. The connection is unique to each client. Meaning is subjective. My only hope is that anyone who buys this piece for a good cause will connect with it in their own way.
Artist: Silvina Mizrahi
job title: “Poem”
Means and dimensions: Mixed media — acrylic paint, pompoms, thread, dried flower, 40”x 30”
Artist Statement: “Inspired by reading the poems of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, I created a series of paintings. ‘Poem’ is one of them. This is my tribute to his talent, his work feeds my soul and paints my world with his magic words.
Artist’s connection to Family Health Center and/or Worcester“My connection to the Family Health Center is through my admiration and support for the work the Center does in serving the diverse community of Worcester. I believe in the power of art as a tool that helps us connect, heal and accept our differences. For this reason, I am honored to support them through my work.
Artist: Jennifer Carey
job title: “Next”
Means and dimensions: Vitreous enamel on copper, 14”x11” framed
Artist Statement: “This piece is part of a series I have been working on since the early days of the pandemic, exploring, with particular emphasis on color and pattern, the tradition of textiles produced by various African cultures. While the bright colors Dutch wax fabric (technically non-African but widely used) and the intricate patterns of Kente are the best known of these textiles, the expression of this craft extends much further.Learning, rendering and translating into enamel, elements of these varied traditions have been a challenge for this girl from Brooklyn.
Artist’s connection to Family Health Center and/or Worcester“I appreciate the staff’s dedication from top to bottom and across the organization and their genuine commitment to our community.”
What else should bidders know?“Enameling, the fusion of finely ground glass to metal, is an ancient art that dates back to the Bronze Age. It is a well-established medium in the area where art and craft meet. Requiring precise cooking at temperatures typically between 1400 and 1650 degrees; the process permanently restores the vibrant transparent, opalescent and opaque colors of the glass frit.
Artist: Norman Ringdahl
job title: “Lake at sunset 3”
Medium and Dimensions: Oil, 12 x 8 — Framed format 15 x 11
Artist statement“Sunset Lake is a very special place for my family and me. In the early 90s, I searched for a cabin in the woods for three years. My wife, Christine, and I had a marriage pact. The first was a trip to Europe, then two babies, and the third to buy a cabin in the woods. After traveling and having our family, I finally found the perfect place for our summer home in Sunset Lake, Northern Massachusetts. There are endless subjects around the lake, beautiful wooded and rocky shores, marshes galore and of course incredible sunsets. Usually I don’t paint sunsets, I just enjoy them, but maybe that will be next year’s gift. This painting, Sunset Lake 3, is located a short distance from the shore of our home. I made a series of 6 paintings, all inspired by this theme one summer.
Artist’s connection to Family Health Center and/or Worcester“I can’t remember who first asked me to donate a painting to Art in the City, but I’ve been an artist donor since 2014. There’s a camaraderie between artist donors so that they realize that the auction helps the Family Health Center fulfill their mission to improve the health and well-being of area residents by providing access to affordable health care and social services, regardless of regardless of their ability to pay. In 2016 I was asked to join the planning committee as co-chair of the art committee and in recent years I have been joined by the other co-chair, Paula Rosenblum Together we are reaching out to the arts community for art donations. As owner of Prints and the Potter Gallery, I am pleased to know that many of the artists we represent have regularly donated of their works. I was part of several very deserving committees and served on other boards, but I think I was able to accomplish the most with the Family Health Centers Art in the City events. Everyone involved has their hearts in the right place. Committee members are such great people to work with and we can see that our direct efforts help those who need it most. It’s a win, a win for everyone, especially the bidders who walk away with great works of art!”
What else should bidders know?: “My advice to bidders is that once you have placed your bid(s), check often as another bidder may have added a higher bid on top of yours, particularly towards the end of the auction. ‘bid.”
FHC of Worcester’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of all residents of Greater Worcester, with an emphasis on culturally diverse populations. Their professional staff and interpreters provide services in over 55 different languages. Visit https://www.artinthecity.org/ to place your bid on any of these beautiful pieces from May 31 through June 11.