Local Artist's Experience Motivates To Give Back
November 18, 2020
The walls of Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital will have a new addition in the near future due to a generous donation from a local artist. At the end of October, St. Marie resident and artist Leith DeWeese donated nine pieces in honor of her late husband, Jerry DeWeese, who passed away last December. The artwork will be displayed throughout the building including patient rooms, waiting rooms and hallways. The pieces will also be rotated with the existing artwork already on display in order to ensure it can be seen at various times in many locations of the facility.
"We are so grateful to Leith for her generosity for not only donating beautiful art but so many pieces. We are thrilled that our staff and patients will be able to enjoy her serene artwork for years to come," exclaimed marketing and HR assistant Taylor Zerbe.
Many of the pieces, with names including "Opheim Doorway," "Overhanging Branch," and "Greenwood Pines," showcase the outdoor scenes of the surrounding area, which Zerbe said will complement the aesthetic already established at the hospital. "We try to create an environment at the hospital with our staff, quality of care and the aesthetic (paint, colors, furniture, art, etc.) that is both welcoming and calming for those that are there. We know that Leith's artwork will contribute to that," stated Zerbe.
DeWeese receives inspiration for all of her artwork by driving the dirt roads and back ways of the area. "There is so much beautiful scenery waiting to be discovered. The hardest part is to stop the car. When you do, you will always find something inspiring. You just must put on the brakes," she explained.
Making art in Valley County is nothing new for DeWeese as she has been in the area for 30 years and has been making artwork all her life. "I was always a kid with busy hands, making, doing, creating. Consequently, I've made artwork all my life," she admits. She furthered her art talent and interest by attending the University of Arizona in Tucson majoring in art education. During her junior year she fell in love with graphic design and made a deal with her parents to finish her degree before pursuing advanced graphic design classes. Two years later she went to work as a graphic designer where she learned the skills that transformed her into a professional and then later into a teacher.
As a result of Jerry's declining health over the years, Leith admits they frequented the FMDH emergency room quite often, and ended up making friends with the staff in all areas of the hospital. "In those times of stress, we were always treated with respect and skill," stated Leith. As a way to say thank you and give back to those who helped them, Leith donated the pieces in honor of Jerry.
"We care deeply about administering high quality patient care at FMDH and hope that each patient that walks through our doors has the same experience as Leith and her late husband, Jerry. For Leith to have experienced that and in turn give back to us, is something we never expected," expressed Zerbe.
The plaques for the donated pieces are currently in the process of being ordered and once they come in, Zerbe states they will be hung up for everyone to enjoy.