Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Local artist donates to Charleston VAMC
I remember the words of our Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center Director Scott Isaacks during my first Leadership Effectiveness Accountability and Development program (LEAD) meeting, “If you would not have it in your house, we don’t want it here.” But, I thought, “what if I would have it in my house?” Those were the words that were in my head as we began to plan our LEAD project for 2017. I wanted to change some of the visual appeal at our hospital—make it more inviting, but still give it local credit. To enhance the patient experience, why not focus on something to make the hospital more pleasing to the eye—even something that could start a conversation among Veterans, employees and visitors? After a discussion with my LEAD team, a project was born to bring local art to our hospital.
We started with many hours of brainstorming. We all had great ideas, but we needed a workable, meaningful idea. One of our members had just that! Audrey Lisbon, an accounting technician at our medical center, had an incredible contact—she was friends with Jonathan Green. Green is a local artist from Gardens Corner, South Carolina and his artwork has been internationally recognized. We met Green for dinner and explain that we would like some artwork donated to our VA to help enhance the aesthetics of our medical center. Green was gracious and supportive, and we were excited to hear he was actually a Veteran! He was more than willing to support our project and invited us to come to his studio.
Our LEAD group was excited to hear the news. We met Green at his studio and picked out the art that we liked for the hospital—he even signed all of them for us. He shared fascinating stories and the vision for his art. All his art is derived from something he either experienced or saw as a child growing up in the Lowcountry. The work is filled with brilliant colors, and a lifestyle focused on the Lowcountry marshes and waterways with every painting having its own special meaning and significance.
With the help of our medical center interior designers, the artwork is now in waiting rooms around our hospital. With collaboration, teamwork, creative thinking and a common goal, our LEAD project can now be enjoyed by employees, Veterans and visitors. When I received the email with pictures of this incredible talent I thought, I would love to have this in my home, but I am so much happier that it’s on the walls of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.