Approximately 60 people gathered on a blustery winter day in the historic North County Recreation District art gallery in Nehalem, Ore., and enjoyed good conversation, the company of fellow art lovers and art based upon the theme of the heart. The original art show was sponsored by Tillamook Regional Medical Center (TRMC) to spread heart health awareness.
The artwork itself was as diverse as the citizens of Tillamook County. There were beautiful watercolor florals and bold oil paintings, detailed illustrations of the human heart, and charming art by children. There were smiles and a lot of toe-tapping to the music of Tico Marimba, a talented group of local musicians who made their own marimbas.
The collective artwork, called Art for the Heart, was on display for a month. An open call went out to artists and creative people from Tillamook County, and results were gratifying. The event featured beautiful painted valentines by children, while professional artists exhibited oil paintings, photography and blown glass. Developing artists contributed textile art, mosaics, paintings, drawings and kiln-glass. Attendees voted on their favorite artwork, and the most popular artwork received awards. Ten pieces of art were sold.
The event, called Community Celebration of the Heart, was well-received by the community. “It was a beautiful show drawing attention to cardiovascular health in Tillamook County and engaging the community in a new and creative way,” said Mary Faith Bell, creator of the event and TRMC communications and marketing director.
“Heart health is of high concern in Tillamook County, where 32.2 percent of adults have high blood pressure,” says Bell, “8.3 percent have diabetes, 4.8 percent have had heart attacks, and 3.9 percent have angina — all higher than the state average. That is why it is was important for TRMC to help promote heart health awareness.”
In addition to the art and the music, the event featured plant-based healthy foods such as vegan cookies and hummus. “Everyone was delighted by the music, the food and the general environment,” Bell says. “It was great to see children dancing and adults smiling.”
Attendees of the event were encouraged to take a free online screening for vascular health sponsored by Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular and were given literature about heart health.
Bell anticipates that this will become an annual event for Tillamook Regional Medical Center and the communities it serves.