‘Art of Healing’

New rotating art exhibit
opens at KDH hospital

Cutshall photo among the pieces
on display in cafeteria

(May 2014) – Three years ago, hospitals became an unexpected part of Chris Cutshall’s life. The 34-year-old Madison, Ind., native had been a busy man, working as a foreman for the Milton-Madison Bridge Project and as a volunteer firefighter and president of Milton (Ind.) Township Fire Department. His Fourth of July tradition was to serve as a volunteer on the Safety Boat during the Madison Regatta.


Photo provided

Chris Cutshall, 34, who was injured in a 2011 boat crash at the Madison Regatta, is now living in Bloomington, where he still practices photography.

In 2011, all that changed when a hydroplane crossed through the infield and destroyed the boat he was in. His injuries included severe head trauma, fractures in his neck, and a crushed right leg. Cutshall faced two years in rehabilitation, and his son Austin, found himself telling his father family stories that Cutshall was unable to remember on his own.
Yet, while so much has changed for Cutshall, the man who once volunteered as a safety rescue worker is continuing to aid in the healing of others in an unexpected way. His photograph of the Lanier Mansion was recently selected for exhibition as part of the “Art of Healing” display at King’s Daughters’ Hospital.
Hospital president and CEO Carol Dozier explains that the exhibit is about more than simply providing an attractive display, “There are studies out there that show that artwork reduces anxiety, reduces the perception of pain.”


Photo provided

Lou Knoble’s painting “Chicago
Jam Session” is in the KDH exhibit.

King’s Daughters Health and the Madison Art Club are co-sponsoring the “Art of Healing” exhibition at the hospital. The exhibit runs through June 28. A “Meet the Artist” event is planned from 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 9, at the Seasons Café inside the hospital. There are 22 pieces by 17 area artists who were chosen by the KDH Art Selection Committee. Artists are invited to submit work to be considered for future shows, which will go up in July and October.
Madison Art Club secretary Teresa Waller says that the quarterly rotations of artwork will allow patients and visitors to enjoy a wider range of pieces and “Keep it fresh!” All of the artwork is available for sale, whether for a visitor’s own collection or as a donation. Waller suggests that “Just as a person could purchase a memorial bench, they could also purchase artwork for the hospital walls.” She said she is pleased that art club was able to collaborate with hospital officials on the project, saying they “view it as a community service and so do we.”


Photo provided

Teresa Waller’s “Lady in White” painting is in the KDH exhibit.

Organizers decided against setting a theme for the show and instead opened it up to what the artists chose to submit. The art selection committee, made up of Robert Feltner, RN; Lisa Morgan, Vice President of Patient Services; and Dozier, each picked their favorite pieces from 68 works submitted. 
“I tried to do a diversity, not just things I liked,” says Dozier. “It was hard to make the selections. We have wonderful artists in town, an amazing talent pool.”
Waller notes that the “Three different personalities” means that there was “a good mix of tastes – something for everybody.” She says that the styles of the pieces chosen vary “from abstract, to whimsical, to realism.”


Photo provided

Linda Wood’s “Railroad Bridge” painting is in the KDH exhibit.

Waller was pleasantly surprised at how well the very different selections all worked together. With three different people each selecting artwork according to their own personal tastes, there was a potential challenge of hanging the pieces together and having them look like a unified display. The exhibit features landscapes, portraits, and even a framed quilted piece. Wallace reflects that the colors of some of the paintings provided a sense of cohesion despite the differing styles. One abstract painting hangs between two more traditional pieces and Wallace marvels that “it’s almost like you could dip a brush in it” and paint the adjoining works so similar are the colors. “We were all just so pleased with how it came together,” she says.
KDH Public Information Specialist David Ommen said the exhibition in some ways echoes work that hung on the walls of the hospital when it was downtown. He explains that the historical photos that were familiar to visitors at the old hospital were quite popular and often the subjects of conversations and happy recollections. “Much of the artwork that has been selected depicts regions around Madison and southern Indiana,” he says. He expects viewers to have similar personal reactions to these pieces. Ommen believes that the display is “Enhancing the physical nature of our facility” and helping to “create an environment that is soothing, a warm atmosphere.”
Cutshall’s grandmother, Kaye Cutshall, says Chris is excited to have his work selected for the exhibition. She picked out the photograph of the Lanier Mansion to submit for consideration, saying that it is “a local picture, a beautiful picture.” Kaye said the photo is a typical representative of his work and believes that his photography tends to draw people in because “it’s fresh, it’s well presented.”
She continues, “Everybody says he has an eye for how to place a photograph.”
While he is no longer able to hike out to places like Clifty Creek that were once featured in his pictures, he continues to enjoy his hobby of photography. “This winter he started taking pictures of birds at the bird feeder,” says Kaye.

Cutshall is currently living in Bloomington, Ind., near his father Stew Cutshall. “He’s got a service dog that he takes care of and that takes care of him,” says Kaye, “It is an amazing miracle that he is alive and doing as well as he is.”

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