Student Artists Receive SLUHN 150th Anniversary Scholarships

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Above, Easton-area and Phillipsburg High School students who created a mural at St. Luke’s Easton campus show off their artwork and the scholarships they each received Wednesday. Left to right, Ciara Quiñónez, Phillipsburg High School; Alexandra “Lexi” DuBose, Easton Area High School; Sage Brotzman, Easton Area High School; Jaritsa Rosario, Easton Area High School; Ella Gagliardi, Phillipsburg High School; and Hannah Beck, Phillipsburg High School. (photo added)

Against the backdrop of a mural painted by high school students at St. Luke’s Easton Campus, St. Luke’s University Health Network officials on Tuesday presented scholarships to the first recipients of special community grants awarded to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of St. Luke’s in Fountain Hill.

Students at Easton Area High School and Phillipsburg High School who, in conjunction with Lafayette College’s “Lafayette Experience” art program, created the mental health-affirming mural in the past six months will each receive a check for scholarship and a certificate of artistic excellence from SLUHN.

In addition to individual scholarships, SLUHN will provide funding for a future community arts initiative in Easton to further support health and healing, said Rosemarie Lister, senior director of the Community Health Network.

Student-artists scholarship recipients included Sage Brotzman, Alexandra (Lexi) DuBose and Jarista Rosario, of Easton; and Ella Gagliardi, Hannah Beck, and Ciara Quiñónez of Phillipsburg High School.

“As part of these celebrations, St. Luke’s will award special grants totaling $150,000 to partner schools and nonprofits working to make a positive impact in our community,” said Rajiika Reed, MD, vice president. of St. Luke’s Community Health.

St. Luke’s has been a foundational institution for health care in the Lehigh Valley since its founding in 1872. The oldest hospital in the Lehigh Valley was established to provide industrial workers – including many from Bethlehem Steel’s predecessor – a local access to healthcare, eliminating the long trip to New York or Philadelphia for critical treatment. A century and a half later, St. Luke’s continues to honor its commitment to local businesses and the community.

St. Luke’s one-year celebration kicked off this spring with employee events at St. Luke’s campuses, a special anniversary IronPigs baseball game at Coca-Cola Park, and a special “Health Now” anniversary episode airing on WFMZ-TV Channel 69. and activities are planned throughout the year.

Reed and Lister spoke to guests at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce the mural, which was unveiled on Wednesday.

The 30-foot-long, eight-foot-tall three-dimensional artwork on a wall on the hospital’s second floor depicts pink lotus flowers symbolizing serenity, teal blue “honeycombs” representing the interdependence and white bubbles for life and creativity, all designed and painted or applied as vinyl cutouts on deep blue wallcovering. The characters were chosen by the students over several months of planning with guidance from Jim Toia, executive director of the “Lafayette Experience” and art teachers from both school districts: Jason Horvath of PSD and Loren Marquardt of the EASD.

Four tempered glass panels suspended from the ceiling and anchored to the ground in front of the mural feature the uplifting quote chosen by the students to title their creation: “Like the lotus, we can rise out of the mud, bloom out of the darkness, and shine out into the world.” “

Lexi DuBose, a recent Easton-area graduate, called her role in creating the mural a “great honour” and said she hopes the wall helps people “be well, grow and learn to adapt and relax”.

It was an appropriate message given the Easton campus’ commitment to behavioral health. This year alone, the campus opened a new Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit to provide safe, expert, and compassionate care for children and adolescents with severe mental, emotional, or behavioral symptoms.

St. Luke’s Easton Campus President Linda Grass thanked Lafayette College students, teachers, administrators and mentors for creating the mural to promote serenity and lift the spirits of viewers, including patients, families, hospital staff and members of the community, who will visit the facility, which is located near the hospital chapel.

“St. Luke’s is proud to sponsor the creation of this remarkable mural as we work every day to improve the health of our community,” she said. “What these talented young artists have done is offer each of us the opportunity to find peace and hope here, and then take it out into the world to share with our families, friends and neighbors.”

Note: This local health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.

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