Women's & Children's Hospital December 10, 2012

LAFAYETTE, La. – A new addition to the walls of Women’s & Children’s Hospital will take patients and visitors to a place of peace and tranquility if for only a moment in time.

That’s the intention behind a hefty gift of 32 pieces of folk art giclees donated by Doug and Cathy Gitter of the New Orleans-based Gitter Gallery to the Woman’s Foundation, a nonprofit agency located on the campus of Women’s & Children’s Hospital, 4600 Ambassador Caffery Parkway.

Doug Gitter along with representatives from the Woman’s Foundation and Women’s & Children’s Hospital gathered Thursday, Dec. 6 at the hospital to unveil the collection.

“Art really does help patients heal and overcome adversity,” said Doug Gitter, a folk art enthusiast and collector who makes a similar donation each Thanksgiving-Christmas season to hospitals, retirement homes and other venues. Previous recipients include Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, Sutton Children’s Hospital in Shreveport, Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., UAB Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala., and Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.

“Patients that visit the hospital are there due to illness, injury or adversity,” he added. “If for a moment in time the art can take them away to a better place, then it will have accomplished its objective.”

Gitter donated the items to the Woman’s Foundation, an agency founded more than 30 years ago that is dedicated to promoting the total well-being of women and their families. The Woman’s Foundation approached Women’s & Children’s Hospital about hosting the collection so the items would be readily accessible to the public.

“It’s a wonderful fit – beautiful artwork that celebrates the values many families in Acadiana share in an environment where each piece can enrich the lives of countless men, women and children,” said Dianna Leger, Woman’s Foundation executive director. “Perhaps the display will inspire future folk artists to pick up a paint brush and pay this kindness forward.”

The exhibit flows along the walls of the Aquarium Lobby from the Pediatrics Department, passed the Outpatient Services waiting area and down to Acadiana’s only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. There, the pieces will be readily accessible to those who visit the hospital.

“Women’s & Children’s Hospital is humbled to host this heart-warming and amazing exhibit,” said Kathy Bobbs, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s & Children’s Hospital and The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana. “What a wonderful, timeless gift Doug Gitter and the Woman’s Foundation have given this holiday season to the patients of Women’s & Children’s Hospital and their families.”

The collection features pieces from several renowned artists including Louisiana’s own Clementine Hunter. Each incorporates vibrant colors, bold textures and rustic imagery to depict a plethora of themes, from patriotism to life in rural communities in the Deep South. The originals of several pieces included in the donation reside in The Smithsonian Institution and other galleries across the nation.

“What I love about this art is that it is from the heart. Not one of the artists were privileged enough to have formal training in art. They merely expressed their feelings and emotion through their work. Somebody else had to let them know they created something others valued as art,” Gitter explained.

“This is not just a visual collection, but an educational one,” he explained. “Each piece is a window into the life and experiences that not only inspired but identified who these artists are as individuals. Our hope is that the art will have a healing effect on the patients and their families.”

Contact Trevis R. Badeaux, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, at 521-9172 or Trevis.Badeaux@hcahealthcare.com for more information.