The WellSpan Spotlight

Health and wellness

WellSpan patient blends community and health care through art

WellSpan patient blends community and health care through art

Patients who enter the newly relocated and expanded WellSpan Family Medicine – Thomas Hart and WellSpan Dental – Hoodner center will see lifelike murals that represent their communities.

Each 9-foot-wide mural tells a story with bright colors, realistic objects, and subjects. Featuring medical and dental instruments, equipment, and medical books, every mural is a mix of community and healthcare, and is designed to put patients at ease as they await their appointments.

"The murals serve as a visual storyboard so patients can look up and see which side of the facility is for medical and which is for dental services," said artist Ophelia Chambliss.

"All of these components say who we are and what we do," she added.

When completed, 18 murals will align along the waiting room walls, just under the tall ceilings. The first three murals were installed in time for the center's recent ribbon-cutting.

A long-time York resident and Thomas Hart patient, Ophelia believes in the work of community clinics.

"I have been part of the Thomas Hart Family Practice for many, many years and I love what they do," she said. "I love their diverse clientele and their physicians, so I was automatically connected to them, and I interpreted that in these murals."

Because the center is staffed in part by residents from WellSpan's residency programs, the murals also contain elements that include the teaching side of medicine, she added.

Artwork that illustrates a moment in time

Ophelia describes her work as realistic cubism that depicts the importance of the local community within each mural she creates.

Known for her palette of vibrant and rich colors, her work can also be found throughout WellSpan York Hospital. Most recently, she completed pieces near the north elevator at WellSpan York Hospital.

They represent a moment in time during the COVID-19 pandemic and tell the story of the diverse White Rose community, she explained. Both patients and health care workers – the subjects in the murals – depict differences in race, gender, body image, and ability.

 "If you're 2 years old and you cannot read, if you're an adult and cannot read, or if you come from another country and cannot read our language, you can look at the visual image and interpret the message," she said. "It really does capture who we are at this moment in time. That's what murals and public art do."