Medical students trade scalpels for brushes

The Penn Med Art Show Committee opened its annual art show in the Fox Art Gallery last night

· October 12, 2012, 1:06 am

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Idrees Syed | DP

Visitors contemplate physiology professor Carol Deutsch’s artwork during the Penn Med Art Show’s opening reception. The exhibit is in its fifth year and will be open at Claudia Cohen Hall’s Fox Art Gallery until Oct. 25.


Last night, students from the Perelman School of Medicine traded their familiar operating gallery for a more creative one.

The Penn Med Art Show Committee opened its annual art show in the Fox Art Gallery, on the ground floor of Claudia Cohen Hall, to showcase artwork from Penn’s scientific community.

Now entering its fifth year, the show allowed this group of amateur artists to showcase their creative talents in a formal public setting. The pieces ranged from abstract metal sculptures and pottery to portraits, landscapes and photographs.

The first Penn Med Art Show was held in 2005, but failed to make it past that year. In 2007, however, a new group of medical students picked the project up again.

Reid Thompson, a resident for Radiation and Oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said of the show, “It’s exciting to see a non-professional community come together to put on an exhibit.”

No submissions are rejected, and both new and returning artists showcased their pieces. This fall, 26 visual artists from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Arts and Sciences, the Medical School and its affiliated hospitals were represented.

A major change to this year’s program was an emphasis on the performing arts. Two poets, a pianist and Penn Med’s a capella group, Ultrasounds, performed at the reception.

“It is great that science-oriented people can display other interests because there are a lot of really creative people who pursue science,” said Leska Nall, a fourth-year graduate student and two-time participant of the art show. “I’m really glad for this opportunity.”

Show coordinator Alice Zhou, an MD and Ph.D. candidate added that she liked the art show because participants may interact with artists whom they may not recognize.

“It seemed like a good way to connect with similar artists,” said artist Colleen Quinn, an affiliate of the Standardized Patient Program at the medical school. She decided to submit for the first time this fall.

Andrew Rula, who was visiting Penn and came to see a friend’s piece, said he was impressed with the exhibit. “I wouldn’t expect this from medical students,” he said.

While art is only a hobby for some, this exhibition took on a more serious tone for Antoine Mason, a food service worker at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. He submitted his artwork, titled “Overcoming Cancer with Christ,” to remember the loved ones he has lost to cancer as well as those who have survived.

In his piece, Mason colored the word “cancer” with 14 different colors to signify the 14 different types of cancer.

“Many people in my life have overcome cancer through prayer and I thought this would be a great way to represent the survivors,” he said.

This exhibit will be open to visitors at Claudia Cohen Hall’s Fox Art Gallery until Oct. 25.

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