Digital exhibit will thank health care workers

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC strategic communications | February 03, 2021

Image with caption: The Healing Arts exhibit will feature animated inspirational artwork.

The Healing Arts exhibit will feature animated inspirational artwork.

The UNMC/Nebraska Medicine Healing Arts Program is launching an ambitious public digital exhibit meant to awe, inspire, and most of all, to thank Nebraska's health care professionals who have worked so long and hard during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The project was inspired by spectacular video images of thanks, projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House a year ago, as wildfires devastated Australia. The Healing Arts exhibit will feature animated inspirational artwork, emblazoned with messages like "You make a difference," "Thank you," and, "You make Nebraska proud," projected onto the face of the newly refurbished Williams Science Hall on 42nd Street, on the medical center's Omaha campus.

"It will cover the entire western fa├žade," of the building, 25 feet tall by 85 feet wide, said Colleen Heavican Cass, curator for the Healing Arts Program. It's an ideal location, Heavican Cass said, near one of the main parking garages, at 42nd and Dewey, for health care workers. They will be greeted by the encouraging exhibit as they go to and from work.

Digital mapping technology will project the artwork onto Williams Science Hall from sunset to sunup for two weeks, beginning today.

The description calls to mind especially elaborate holiday lights displays. Does the medical center expect increased traffic on 42nd Street, as members of the public take in the show?

"We hope so," said Heavican Cass. "The artist wanted it to be bold and illuminating, something that could become a conversation piece for the community."

The artist is Omahan Laurie Victor Kay, whose work "blurs the lines between photography, painting, art, culture, fashion, architecture and digital medium to reinterpret spaces into imagined worlds," according to her website. She collaborated with Hylan Miller, an Omaha artist and graphic designer.

And, with the UNMC Department of Facilities, Management and Planning, and Nebraska Medicine Information Technology, to pull it off, along with a private contractor.

A rented projector will sit on the lower roof of Wittson Hall, right outside of Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD's window.

The Healing Arts Program found no light pollution issues, and no permits were required from the city, Cass said.

The artists are donating their time and talent, and two anonymous donors covered the cost of bringing the exhibit to life.

The Healing Arts Program operates within UNMC and Nebraska Medicine to engage patients, caregivers, staff and students to heal through the arts.


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Susan Siebler
February 03, 2021 at 11:09 AM

It's a beautiful tribute. I recognize the piece as Laurie Victor Kay's artwork - she is amazing! Thank you to all involved.

Mary A Car-Blanchard
February 03, 2021 at 8:48 AM

WOW! Amazing & warranted! Thank you to all staff involved- at all levels, for providing COVID care for so long. Thank you artists for donating your time. Can't wait to see it! Mary Car-Blanchard

Heidi Woodard
February 03, 2021 at 8:37 AM

Super excited to see this. Very cool idea.

Linda Love
February 03, 2021 at 8:29 AM

Now THAT's making our walls TALK! Thank you Healing Arts Program and funders! I am looking forward to seeing what other creative ways that UNMC leads with bold, positive messages in our slice of the world.

Lisa Spellman
February 03, 2021 at 8:05 AM

Fantastic artwork! What a great way to recognize the incredible work of our health care professionals!