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New Orleans man gives art to KDMC

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / King's Daughters Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Alvin Hoover (from left) looks on as Doug Gitter discusses his art presentation Friday afternoon at the hospital. Gitter donated 30 pieces of art, created largely by southern artists, to KDMC.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / King’s Daughters Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Alvin Hoover (from left) looks on as Doug Gitter discusses his art presentation Friday afternoon at the hospital. Gitter donated 30 pieces of art, created largely by southern artists, to KDMC.

Apparently knowing the connection between fine art and the art of therapy and healing, New Orleans attorney Doug Gitter donated more than 30 pieces of original artwork to King’s Daughters Medical Center Friday afternoon.

Now, the hospital has the option to display the paintings throughout its premises and intends to do just that, said David Culpepper, KDMC director of marketing.

“We are going to put these wonderful paintings on every floor of the hospital, from admitting to discharge,” Culpepper said.

During his presentation to KDMC officials in the lobby of the hospital Friday, Gitter’s passion for the artwork he is donating, or more specifically, the artists he has come to know, is evident.

All of the pieces of art were created by artists outside the public eye, many of whom live in smaller cities and towns all over Mississippi, Alabama and much of the South. KDMC, categorized as a smaller hospital by healthcare standards, provides an appropriate venue to display the artwork, according to Gitter.

“I have made a close personal relationship with many of these artists. It pleases me to get their name out there, and at the same time help the hospital,” Gitter said.

A self-proclaimed “designer” over an artist, Gitter has a knack for uncovering art that is beyond the public radar, and then donating it to hospitals across the country.

Jimmy Lee Sudduth is one of the artists Gitter talks about during his presentation. According to information Gitter provided at the presentation, Sudduth is a self-taught artist who has developed his own handmade paint over the years from a variety of common substances such as sugar, honey, coffee grounds, sand, soot and even Dr. Pepper. Sudduth did this, Gitter explains, out of economic necessity.

The amazingly detailed work, and the creativity of the artwork, which depicts images and icons from rural America, is something that many of the patients at the hospital can appreciate and identify with, said KDMC CEO Alvin Hoover.

“In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I believe that it is better to give than to receive,” Gitter told Hoover, Culpepper and other hospital officials in the lobby of the hospital, where all 30 paintings were on display.

Hoover emphasized the connection between healthcare and art at his hospital. “We have sought to integrate art into the hospital. It can have a very soothing effect on not just the patients, but our staff as well.”

Last month at the hospital, KDMC put on a “performance improvement” contest that had all departments submit a giant, artistic collage in the theme of “Cirque du Soleil,” that addressed potential improvements the staff could implement at the hospital.

Additionally, third-floor nursing department manager Jaymie Heard, recently beat out all other hospitals at a National Association for Healthcare Quality contest in early October. Heard was awarded first place for an abstract that was presented in poster form at the competition.