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Art group creates healthy atmosphere

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Reaching for hope.

That is what patients at the Rehabilitation Hospital at Health Sciences Centre were doing, while reaching up to the ceiling with their eyes to view the spectacular images of art on display.

Darlene McPherson from Winnipeg, is a member of the Prairie Palette Art Group that brilliantly spearheaded and created the Hall of Hope project and painted these 15 ceiling tiles that measure four by two feet that were strategically placed down the rheumatology hallway and the ceiling. The paintings feature the four seasons within the Prairie provinces and Northwest Ontario.

McPherson and her artistic friends painted scenes of a grain elevator, canola field, crocuses peaking through the snow, butterflies, deer hiding behind trees, Beaudry Park and sunsets. As McPherson pointed out, the crocus signifies the renewal of life and the butterfly is telling people to spread their wings and get back to the garden of life.

The Hall of Hope project was funded by these wonderful painters with the assistance of the HSC Foundation and Artist in Health Care Manitoba. Not only did they generously provide the ceiling tiles, they also provided their time, talent and beautiful artwork that continues to inspire, comfort and uplift the patients, family and friends.

One of the nurses that works on that unit sent a thank-you note to the group letting members know that these paintings have helped create positive communication on the ward, instead promoting thoughts of illness, sickness and poor health.

One of the patients confided in McPherson that she uses her imagination and climbs into the pictures and leaves the ward for awhile. That is the reason why the second phase of the Walk of Wellness project is underway within the waiting room on the same floor. The artists are using the same size ceiling tiles and have already completed 10 with six more to go. The Walk of Wellness art will start where the Hall of Hope ends and the Walk of Wellness will end where the Hall of Hope starts.

The Prairie Palette Art group has been together for approximately 11 years. It has about 25 members, most of whom reside within the RM of Macdonald or Winnipeg. Most of the original members of the group are still there.

The group meets every second and fourth Tuesday at Oak Bluff School between 6:30 and 9 p.m. It breaks for the summer during the months of July and August.

Kathryn Bartmanovich, who is the president, secretary and treasurer of the group expressed her love for art and the sense joy that members share.

Group members displayed their talent at their annual art show that was held May 6 at Oak Bluff Community Hall. The show also featured drawings and paintings by the Grade 10 to and 12 students from the Sanford Collegiate art class taught by Tammy Klippenstein.

One of Klippenstein’s Grade 12 students, Mindy Parker, was at the show as a representative of the school.

The Prairie Palette Art Group doesn’t just share its talents with the public, members also share whatever money they make in the group by contributing $75 towards the Sanford Collegiate Scholarship Fund for the graduating art student with the highest grades. They also contribute to some of the cost of art supplies at Oak Bluff School art class to show their appreciation to the wonderful staff for the use of their school.

Sandra Murner is a community correspondent for Sanford. She can be reached at

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