Shine On: Nurses in Art

Shine On: Nurses in Art

Howard Chandler Christy, The Spirit of America, 1919 Chromolithograph, Courtesy of the Zanesville Museum of Art, Tami Longaberger Howard Chandler Christy Collection

Through examples of many types of art that span centuries, Shine On (March 20 – June 21, 2015), an exhibition at Columbus Museum of Art, celebrated the invaluable contribution that nurses have made to society. Today’s Covid 19 pandemic underscores the impact nurses have on all of our lives.

The innate capacity of humans to care for one another is fundamental to the practice of nursing and has been demonstrated in art that dates from ancient civilizations the world over. Equally integral to nursing is the much more recent notion that Florence Nightingale called “hard preparation.” That is the practical training, experience, and technical knowledge that is required of nursing professionals in response to the complexity of the human body and efforts to keep it well from birth through the aging process. Shine On brought together art about humans caring for one another, the professionalization of nursing that began in the nineteenth century, and the continuing vital and complex role that nurses play in our world today.

“Shine On,” the title of the exhibition, pays homage to Florence Nightingale, who developed standards and training that became the basis of modern nursing. During the Crimean War (1853-56), she made nightly rounds to care for wounded soldiers and became known as “the lady with a lamp.” Her spirit of service and knowledge “shines on” today as we witness the dedication of nurses worldwide to battle the crisis of the corona virus.

The idea for this exhibition originated with Judith Kimchi-Woods, nurse/administrator at Chamberlain University.

-Carole Genshaft, CMA Curator-at-Large, organized Shine On for CMA.