Terri Albanese paints with glass to evoke feelings of light and joy. The Columbus artist seeks to help others find hope in times of uncertainty.

 

Terri Albanese

Recently, Albanese brought hope to front-line health care workers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center by donating 1,500 postcards of her inspirational art to help them through the uncertainty rendered by COVID-19.

“I was thinking of health care workers, of how tirelessly they were working to care for the ones we love, and what a toll it must be taking on them,” Albanese said. “They were in the middle of it all—the fear, the uncertainty—what it must be doing to them. I asked myself, ‘If I truly believe in the underlying healing power of art, what can I do?’”

The postcards bear a vibrant image of white tulips from Albanese’s original work, a 30- by 42-inch piece titled “Interwoven.” It is made of purple, white and green glass fired and “painted” by the artist with the result reminiscent of the broad, bold brushstrokes of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who inspires her work.

To Albanese, the tulip bouquet symbolizes how spring acts as a bridge from the dark days of winter to summer’s light and warmth. She chose this tribute for health care workers who were toiling against the dark unknown of the coronavirus while working toward the light of knowledge and an eventual cure for COVID-19. Her postcards include the message: “You are the bridge. Thank you for all you are giving.”

The Wexner Medical Center gave the 1,500 postcards to individual employees working temperature checkpoints. These staff provide the first point of contact for every visitor to the medical center; they are the “bridge” into the hospital. Albanese was touched to learn that these front-line workers received her “cards of hope.”

“I love that. I’m blown away,” she said.

The healing power of art has been integral to Albanese’s journey as an artist. But a cancer patient showed her how much it meant during an exhibition last winter at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Visible through the glass walls, the sunflowers drew her into The James Art Gallery, past the “Closed” sign on the door. Eyes moist with tears, her hand shaking on her cane, this patient, who was taking her first solo walk in two years, stood mesmerized by the glow of the golden flowers. “Who did this?” she asked. When Albanese confessed, the woman said, amazed, “Your work is so beautiful.” Albanese took the woman’s hand and the two of them stood together, letting tears stream down their faces.

The James Art Gallery Exhibition

To that point, Albanese had known she wanted people to feel something from her art, but she hadn’t known how badly she needed it to touch them, she said. The experience affirmed a decision to transition from showing her work in galleries to working with clients on commission.

“I love putting people in the creative process,” she says. “I’m interested in the heart and soul of a person and a business.”

By design, many of her clients are health care organizations. “I identified the health care industry as one I want to be a part of. I want to uplift not just patients and families but medical workers because they are the ones living this day to day, the light and the dark.”

Cards of Hope

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