A Creative Way to Give

Artist’s work serves as inspiration for design of new Pediatrics unit

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As more and more families trust their care to our specially trained providers, our vision has grown. We are re-imagining Family Care in a way we are confident other hospitals will follow.

In the summer of 2020, we launched an ambitious project that will transform the way care is delivered to mothers, newborns, children, and all those who love them.

Following the science, our modernized Family Care Center is designed with best practices at its core. Employing a model in use in only a handful of hospitals nationwide, it will achieve our vision to provide an environment of healing with features that engage children, and put a premium on family involvement, privacy, and comfort.

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Artist: Jorja Kemp's vibrant and bold animal prints.

Raised in a home where art was ever present, Jorja Kemp developed a passion for painting at a very young age. Following in her father’s footsteps, she dabbled in oils as a child and into her formative years. More recently she has turned to the unique medium of alcohol inks and developed a reputation for artwork that jumps off the canvas with bold lines and radiant colors.

“I started experimenting with alcohol inks in 2015,” Kemp says. “Up to that point, I had been a realist and worked primarily in oils. I did portraits, classic vehicles and such. I wanted to learn abstract and this was my opportunity. The alcohol inks are very vibrant, but they are hard to control.”

Despite the learning curve, Kemp’s pivot to alcohol inks has earned the praise of her peers. Her animal prints, specifically, have been welcomed with critical acclaim and have led Kemp to what she considers her most significant artistic success. When the new Pediatrics unit opens in the Family Care Center at Mary Greeley Medical Center, the environment will be designed with a series of Kemp’s “Confetti Pets” at its core.

She says she was humbled to be asked to participate in the project and that it was her honor to donate her work.

“There are no words to really explain it,” Kemp says of knowing her art has played a prominent role in the design of the unit. “It makes me feel good to know that my work will provide a little lift to the kids on the unit. I just want to give, and this was a perfect way to do that.”

Kemp says that her animal paintings have always been wildly popular with children. The vibrant colors and bold take on animals ranging from kittens to giraffes offer a whimsical and uplifting vibe for a unit that will be serving children battling illness or injury.

The Pediatrics team is confident Jorja’s work will perfectly complement the unit.

“When we saw Jorja’s work displayed in the medical center we knew we wanted to incorporate her alcohol ink artwork on our Pediatrics unit,” says Amy Dagestad MBA, MSN, RN, NE-BC, RNC-OB, Director of Maternal Child Services. Kemp has had various pieces displayed at Mary Greeley over the years. “Each piece is unique and gives our youngest patients and their families something fun and uplifting to look at during their stay with us. We are so grateful for the opportunity to showcase her work in our current Pediatrics unit and to expand on the number of her pieces we display when the new unit opens.”

Each room on the unit will be themed around Kemp’s animal paintings. In addition to one of her works being included on the wall outside each room, little touches like notecards will be printed specific to each room. These will allow staff to follow up with children and families with a card that carries the theme that matches the room they were served in.

Reflecting on the project, Kemp is heartened to know that her work will provide a ray of sunshine to children and families going through a tough time.

“I had a display up in a shop in downtown Ames recently and I watched a small child looking at my work,” Kemp says. “She just seemed to be lost in it, fascinated by it. That made me feel so good. And to know that my work may have the same impact on children in the hospital makes me very happy.”

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