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  February 10, 2003

Health Center Art Exhibit
Showcases Employees' Talents
By Pat Keefe

The Diversity Advisory Committee and the UConnCares Council were looking for diversity when they sponsored an art exhibition at the Health Center Jan. 31.

They certainly found it - in the form of 34 artists working in nearly as many mediums: from oil paint to wearable metal; from photography to pottery; from fashion design to cross stitch; and from stained glass to dried flowers and balloons.

Image: Nelson Tchakirides discusses his painting with colleagues
Nelson Tchakirides, a lead computer programming analyst, discusses his painting 'Maiden Flight 1942' with colleagues, an exhibit of employees' art work at the Health Center.
Photos by Peter Morenus
Image: Metal art by Linda Staphos Wosczyna
Wearable metal art by Linda Staphos Wosczyna of Diagnostic Imaging and Therapeutics, on display at the Health Center.

The exhibit was intended to showcase the artistic creations of Health Center employees, students, and volunteers, and to promote a sense of community, said Sandy Kressner, an education development specialist in Human Resources and chair of the exhibit titled "Art, An Expression of Diversity." A section of the Food Court and all of the Faculty/Staff Dining Room was taken over for the day as exhibit space.

"I didn't know we had such talented artists among the workforce," said Kenneth Landorf, assistant director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. "You see people at work and that's how you know them. To see them as artists exhibiting their work is to see them in a new context, an unusual and unfamiliar way."

Relaxation was a common reason suggested by the artists for engaging in their avocation. So were creativity and fun.

"It's totally different from what I do for work," said Linda Roberts, a staff nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a watercolor painter. "It's relaxing. I get a sense of fulfillment when I've finished a painting."

"I've been painting for 30 years, " said Nelson Tchakirides, a lead computer programming analyst in Enterprise Computing Services, who also paints with acrylic on canvas. "I paint nights and weekends and I've done commissions of homes, estates, animals, classic cars, and classic airplanes."

"I work full time so I can't be at the school to volunteer during the day, so I work behind the scenes" said Bonnie Hennig, a social worker in the psychiatry department who paints with acrylics. "I paint posters and props for school plays, operas, and productions. I do it to stay connected with my kids and their school."

Like other Health Center events, such as the Under the Tent Celebration or the Health Fair, the art exhibition may have taken on a life of its own. Exhibitors and viewers alike said they would like to see another, bigger exhibit in the future.

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