Students, faculty, staff show off artistic talents at inaugural HeART of WMed art showcase

"."As the eight medical students concluded their dance performance Friday evening, the auditorium at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine erupted with loud cheers and applause.

The piece, "Bollywood Breakdown," was a fitting bookend to the inaugural HeART of WMed art showcase, an event January 13 at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus that brought the WMed community together for an opportunity to witness and appreciate the many artistic talents of students, faculty, staff and clinicians.

The roster of participants was made up of more than 40 people, including 18 visual artists who displayed 45 pieces of art and 24 performance artists who presented dance numbers, music, short stories and poetry.

MORE: See a video of highlights from HeART of WMed

The more than 200 people who attended the art showcase included students, residents, faculty, staff, clinicians, donors, and participants" families. The crowd filled the medical school"s auditorium during the performance art portion of the show and helped raise more than $700 in donations for the Kalamazoo Youth Development Network.

"I loved the fact that we had M1s, M2s and M3s, staff and clinicians all in this show," Ramachandran said. "I think that"s powerful. I think it also shows that you can be passionate about multiple things."

Ramachandran was among the 18 artists who displayed several pieces of art Friday outside the auditorium on the first floor of the Upjohn Campus. Attendees to HeART of WMed mingled and enjoyed hors d'oeuvres as they checked out each visual art piece and got an opportunity to speak to many of the artists.

Dr. Richard Lammers, WMed"s assistant dean for Simulation, who displayed his photography at the art showcase, said the event left him inspired and he is hopeful that HeART of WMed will become an annual event.

"I am just totally amazed by the talent of everyone who is here," Dr. Lammers said. "It is inspiring. It is fun to see staff, students and faculty sharing ideas and their interests outside of the classroom."

Once the performance art portion of the art showcase began Friday, every chair inside the auditorium at the Upjohn Campus was filled, leaving many to stand or find a seat on the floor to take in the show.

Dr. Mark Loehrke, associate professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, and first-year student Elaine Vos were the emcees for the art showcase and kept the crowd on its toes with skits that brought plenty of laughs.

There was an array of performances from students like M1 Kylie Miller and M2 Ai Yamasaki, who presented "Dancing through Medical School," and Dr. Michael Leinwand, a clinical assistant professor for Surgery, who sang "Today is the Beginning," a song he wrote and originally performed at his graduation from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.