As a second-year student at WMed, Theron O’Halloran is well aware of the emphasis he and his classmates must place on their studies and the amount of time they spend in class as they navigate medical school.
So, in many ways, he said the 2nd Annual HeART of WMed art showcase served as a short reprieve and an outlet for him and other students to shift their focus from academics to their many artistic talents.
“One thing I really like about this event is it emphasizes a different part of our lives that isn’t always shown in med school,” he said. “A lot of times we’re stuck in class, we’re studying all the time … I think this art showcase opens our eyes and shows that we’re more than just students, we’re also artists.”
The art showcase, which attracted a large crowd to the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus on the evening of Friday, February, 23, 2018, brought the WMed community together to witness and appreciate the many artistic talents of O’Halloran and other students, as well as faculty, staff and clinicians.
The HeART of WMed featured visual pieces from 17 artists, as well as more than a dozen performances showcasing great music, dance, poetry and comedy.
“I thought it went really well,” said M2 Elaine Vos, who served as an emcee for the night’s festivities along with Dr. Mark Loehrke, chair of the medical school’s Department of Medicine. Vos and O’Halloran organized this year’s art showcase and led the planning committee for the event.
Admission to the HeART of WMed was free, but donations were taken at the door to benefit the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. O’Halloran said the event raised close to $500 for the organization.
“We’re really happy about that and I hope the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission can use those funds for whatever they see fit,” O’Halloran said.
During the performance art portion of the art showcase, a large crowd filled the auditorium at the Upjohn Campus. The attendees were treated to a range of performances, including a dance piece titled “A Patient’s Perspective” by O’Halloran and M2 Kylie Miller.
There was also plenty of music, including a jam session by M1 Tyler Ulrich and his band, “Tyler Made Us Do This,” as well as a rousing Bollywood infused dance from eight students who performed “Desiplasia.”
Toward the end of the night, laughter filled the auditorium as Dr. Loehrke reprised his role from last year’s HeART of WMed art showcase as Dr. Hal Jenson, WMed’s founding dean. There was a twist this year, however, as Dr. Jenson emerged not long after Dr. Loehrke made his appearance and greeted the crowd with his best impression of Dr. Loehrke.
“It’s good for the students and all of the participants to be able to explore that part of themselves,” Vos said as this year’s art showcase came to a close. “It’s good for us to remind ourselves that we’re not just scientists, we’re whole people and I think it’s important for the crowd to be here to see that we’re more than just future doctors or current doctors, or just working in the Medical Education department.