A little hospital in a small town in Alabama is the unlikely venue for a national art exhibition honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
The exhibition of 440 pieces of art-original drawings, photographs and other works on paper-now graces the lobby of 150-bed Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, Ala., a suburb of Mobile. Since its debut on the first anniversary of the attacks, the "Memorial Portfolio" is attracting wide interest in the community and reverent reviews.
"This is certainly an honor for Thomas Hospital to have the first public showing of such an emotional and heartfelt exhibition," says spokeswoman Diana Brewer. "Had this exhibition gone anywhere else, I imagine that only a few of us in south Alabama would have had the opportunity to see it. It's really a privilege and a great opportunity for everyone in our area."
The exhibition was curated by the Atlanta-based American Print Alliance, a consortium of artists in the U.S. and Canada that put out a call for entries about a month after last year's attacks. The assignment for artists was simple: "Use your imagination to celebrate life," it read.
It includes a drawing of a grieving firefighter, his face buried in his hands. In another sketch, a question mark is superimposed over an image of the World Trade Center, the two towers obscured by a smoky haze. A cherubic baby is the focus of another drawing, his innocent eyes gazing toward the sky.
"This (exhibition) is a way to help us comprehend the loss of so many individual lives," Carol Pulin, director of the alliance, says of the exhibition.
The "Memorial Portfolio" will travel as an exhibition for about three years and will be displayed at university galleries, museums and perhaps many other hospitals across the country, before it is donated to a major museum or library print collection, Brewer says.
A new wrinkle in Botox marketing
Just how far will hospital marketing departments go to promote the innovative use of commonplace treatments? Well, witness the case of the Drake Center, a post-acute-care and rehabilitation hospital in Cincinnati that is trying to get the message across that Botox can do a lot more than erase wrinkles.
Officials at the Drake Center say fans of crooner Andy Williams can thank Botox for rescuing the career of the entertainer's saxophone player, Damian Cremisio.
In a recent press release, the Drake Center touts its use of Botox in the treatment of Cremisio and two other patients suffering from chronic movement disorders. Physicians at the hospital have been using Botox for medical treatment since the early 1990s-long before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for cosmetic purposes last April.
Doctors at the 288-bed hospital have found that Botox is much more than a simple cosmetic wonder, and that it provides significant medical benefits for victims of stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and brain and spinal cord injuries. Those patients often suffer from spasticity that can interfere with function. In the case of Cremisio, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, doctors at Drake began using Botox injections about six months ago to counter a limp caused by spasticity in his foot. The limp has disappeared, and he recently played 18 holes of golf without a cart, aided only by a brace.
What's more, he's currently touring with Williams.
Like many hospitals across America, Allen Memorial Hospital in Moab, Utah, has experienced a dramatic rise in the number of emergency room visits. But this sudden hike isn't the result of an increase in the uninsured population-it's a direct result of an army of mountain bikers who have transformed this desert town into a new mecca for extreme sports, and extreme injuries.
As temperatures cool down, the fall biking season is just beginning to heat up in Moab-and so is the ER business at 38-bed Allen Memorial. Already this year, the ER has logged 204 X-rays for mountain-biking injuries on the rugged, natural red rock formations-only a couple dozen below last year's total of 256. The biggest culprit: the famed Slickrock bike trail, Moab's signature course, which has been held responsible for 56 injuries. (These tallies don't include the countless scrapes and bruises not deemed worthy of a closer look or heroic medical attention.)
For this busiest of seasons, the ER staff at Allen Memorial has created an assembly line of sorts. "We do an excellent job in getting a flow going-of giving them treatment and getting them out the door," says Georgia Russell, a registered nurse and emergency room coordinator. "Everyone works as a team here."
The Slickrock trail alone boasts 100,000 visitors per year. In 1950, there were 16,000 visitors to nearby Arches National Park. By 2000, the number had skyrocketed to 870,000, according to Ken Davey, director of the Moab Area Economic Development Office. There are some 1 million visitors to the region every year, many focusing on Moab, population 5,000, and its treacherous biking trails.
For Allen Memorial, this boom in tourism-mountain biking in particular-will likely mean the same for its busy emergency department.