Caring for hearts has been a focus at St. Luke’s since 1978 when the hospital’s open heart surgery program began. Since then, St. Luke’s has built a legacy as Cedar Rapids’ Heart Hospital treating more heart patients than any other hospital in Cedar Rapids and performing the most advanced heart procedures locally.
In advance of February as heart awareness month and to uplift our patients, their families, healthcare workers and the community, St. Luke’s is sharing “Public Art for Healthy Hearts,” featuring work by Cedar Rapids artist, Laura Saylor Smith. Her original paintings will be on display in St. Luke’s SurgiCare lobby and windows, on area billboards, ads and other public locations in the community.
The art will be unveiled during a special presentation Monday, Jan. 10 at 12:30 p.m. in St. Luke’s SurgiCare Lobby. The details:
What: Public Art for Healthy Hearts
When: Mon., Jan. 10, 12:30 p.m.
Where: St. Luke’s Hospital, 1026 A Ave., NE, Cedar Rapids, SurgiCare Lobby, Second Floor
Why: To raise awareness about heart disease and to uplift patients, healthcare workers and the community.
Editors: If you would like to cover the Public Art for Healthy Hearts unveiling, please let me know by email, phone call or text. I will need to meet journalists at the hospital’s West Entrance and escort to the SurgiCare lobby. Laura Saylor Smith will arrive at St. Luke’s around noon – prior to the unveiling and would be available for interviews.
The genesis of Public Art for Healthy Hearts was a painting St. Luke’s commissioned from Smith to capture the year 2020.
“I was never more excited about a project,” said Laura Smith. “I knew it was a work I had to do for myself as much as for St. Luke’s. Just like the painting, the beginning of the year started out with color and love, and then the middle of the year with all we dealt with was dark. We were hopeful the end would be back into the bright, beautiful world we all know and love. It was a big piece of work from an emotional standpoint. It started with COVID, and then we were sucker-punched with the derecho. But we have a history of coming back stronger, together. I hope what people see is the ‘stronger together’ and ‘you matter’ because together we can get through anything. That’s what Cedar Rapids has done in our history with the flood, another almost-flood, COVID and the derecho.”
Smith hopes her paintings for Public Art for Healthy Hearts will also elicit positive emotions for anyone who sees them in St. Luke’s SurgiCare lobby or throughout the community.
“I hope they give people a sense of calm,” Smith said. “Maybe they will spark a positive thought if someone is worried or dealing with a situation that didn’t come out the way they had hoped. Whether they bring peaceful happiness or comfort, that’s what I’m hoping these hearts will do.”
St. Luke’s chose to share Smith’s artwork to uplift the emotional hearts of healthcare workers and the community, while also shining a light on the importance of physical heart health. Some of the artwork is already on display, with more in place for Heart Month next month, as a reminder for people to take care of their hearts.
We encourage the community to learn more about preventing heart disease, by visiting unitypoint.org/cedarrapids/heart.
About the Artist
Laura Saylor Smith is a mixed media artist from Cedar Rapids. She is inspired by bright, vibrant colors and loves nature. Laura presented St. Luke’s with its first heart painting in 2020 to honor healthcare workers amid the pandemic and after the derecho. Her personal mission is to “inspire others to be open to creativity as a way to deal with life’s ups and downs, especially the downs.” Her original paintings for “Public Art for Healthy Hearts” will be on display in St. Luke’s SurgiCare lobby and will be part of multiple works around the Cedar Rapids area, to uplift art and our hearts.