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Reflections of Peace Hope and Perseverance: St. Luke's Team Members Paint Playwood Used for Negative Pressure Rooms

When you drive past St. Luke’s Hospital or St. Luke’s Des Peres Hospital, you will see plywood on some of the hospital windows. These boards help us change the airflow of a patient rooms to negative pressure, which helps reduce the risk for respiratory droplet transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

St. Luke’s invited our team members to paint the plywood, and their art and reflections made our jaws drop. Their creations are proudly displayed at each elevator lobby of our inpatient areas. Here’s what each employee had to say about their artwork:

Kimberly Denbow, Surgical Services, St. Luke's Hospital — "Falls of Peace"
“My painting, “Falls of Peace” is my interpretation of a moment that I shared in Libby, Montana with my family in May of 2019. As a child, every summer vacation we would travel to Montana to visit my mother’s two brothers & their families. It was a very long journey to the northwestern part of Montana from Missouri. Approximately 4,500 miles round trip. Once we would finally reach their homes we had a fantastic time playing with our cousins as they were similar in age to my twin sister and I. So many great memories were made while traveling on the road and the sights that we would see along the way.
 
Once I became a mother, my goal was to eventually be able to take my own daughters up to Montana to visit my extended family. I wanted my daughters to have a sense of what is outside of their normal lifestyle ‘bubble’ so to speak. 
 
Kootenai Falls and the Swinging Bridge was a sight that I always remembered as a child. It was definitely on my list to visit. There is nothing to compare the sounds of the falls, the rock formations cut by the rushing water, the bald eagles soaring in the sky, the tall evergreen trees that was the backdrop in the sky up to the bluest clouds that you’ve ever seen.
 
So my purpose to volunteer and paint this portrait for any potential ill patient is this…. I hope that the trees represent to you, that you can rise up tall and face yet another day.  I hope the water of the falls represent to you, that you can cleanse your heart and mind so you may be at peace.  I hope the blue sky represents to you, that you always should dream and dream big. No matter how young or old you may be. Lastly, I hope that the rock represents to you, that as seasons come and seasons go you “the rock” will face change. But with change no matter what the scars may show on the outside, the beauty is from within. Please enjoy my portrait, “Falls of Peace” with a grateful heart.”


Christine Fox, Continuing Medical Education, St. Luke's Hospital — "Love Thy Neighbor... We Are All In This Together"
“My painting is an image of a person, wearing a mask, making a heart with his/her hands with the sunrise in the background. The message is that wearing a mask is a gesture of love and support for everyone around us during this pandemic, and this is something we can all do to help."


Hailey Francis, St. Luke's Center for Cancer Care
"For my painting I wanted to capture the resilience of nature and humanity. In these times of struggle, families and communities are coming together to support one another in new ways. I think it is important now more than ever to spread kindness, and art is a great way to do that. I chose to accompany my painting with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Just as the water carves its way through the mountain range, we too shall come together to support all those suffering during this pandemic."


Marina Moore, Sterile Processing, St. Luke's Hospital
“I've always been drawn to nature for comfort, so it made sense to paint a landscape that would capture the quiet tranquility I seek out during periods of hardship. I find that the depth of mountains and hills contrasted by trees and a vast sky evokes a sense of awe and reverence for what our Earth is capable of creating. My hope is that others can find peace or a moment of reflection through the artwork I've presented. I hope my painting can remind others there's still beauty in the world, and it will still be there when this is over.”


Jackee Smithhart, Respiratory Therapy, St. Luke's Hospital
"The tree itself symbolizes fall and the changing colors that most of us find so beautiful. We are all going through such a challenging time with things constantly changing around us. Each and every day, I find my heart grows even heavier and it becomes challenging to find reasons to laugh or even smile. But then something amazing will happen and it will remind me that there is still beauty around us. Whether it be a patient that gets to come home to their family or a coworker that buys you flowers to thank you for all you do. That is what that tree means to me. To find the beauty even when there is so much change around us."


Michaela Worthey, Laboratory, St. Luke's Hospital
“To start with a quote: “…The human race is filled with passion…Medicine, law, business, engineering…these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love…these are what we stay alive for…That you’re here, that life exists, and identity - that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” -Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society There may be times in life when you find yourself feeling like the world is turned upside down – greyness pulls at you, and the honeycomb just isn’t as sweet anymore. In these moments, I encourage you to look up, and take a breath. Start with that one moment and hold on to as much color, life, and love as you can. And then step forward into writing your next verse.”