Healing through art at St. Luke’s clinic

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The new St. Luke’s OB/GYN clinic has been open and serving patients for more than two months. And there’s one therapeutic element to the new space that has nothing to do with medicine or technology.

It’s a curated collection of local art.

“This piece is from a body of work that I did called Mono No Aware, which is about the Japanese sort of impermanence of things,” Artist Natalie Salminen Rude explained a piece in the specialty care area of the clinic.

Natalie Salminen Rude shows a piece of her art. Kyle Aune/WDIO

She and Jordan Sundberg are two of the women artists whose work adorns the walls of the third floor of St. Luke’s Lakeview building.

“I feel like a little kid who is like, ‘You want to have this big special thing?'” Sundberg said of the hospital asking her to curate the collection. “Yeah, I do. It feels really nice.”

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Dozens of pieces greet patients in the lobby or keep them company in exam rooms.

“Being a woman artist, being a mother, thinking of women coming to the clinic for various reasons and then specifically knowing the power of art to heal, especially, I was just really excited that St. Luke’s had that vision to know that a local group of artists would really be the right fit to sort of nurture and care for their patients,” Salminen Rude said.

She and Sundberg are moms themselves. And they hope their work feels like home.

“I spent probably a year and a half in the pandemic poring over maps of the whole city and driving through the whole city to find out where the major creeks flow and where the hills end and start,” Sundberg said about a large piece hanging in the lobby. “It’s kind of also just a love letter to Duluth because I love this place so much.”

A Tin Cup Design piece from Jordan Sundberg. Kyle Aune/WDIO

They truly hope that beyond what doctors and nurses can offer, there is healing and joy in the art.

“My hope is that patients really do feel nurtured by the work and they receive the healing that’s in the images because it’s in there,” Salminen Rude said.

“Sometimes I even find myself praying while I make art or just hoping for what will happen for the people who have it,” Sundberg said. “And so I hope that there’s peace, that there is a sense of comfort, of being taken care of, that people are noticed and loved. And if that comes out, that makes me so, so happy.”

Find Salminen Rude’s work here and Sundberg’s here.