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Harris Regional Cancer Center features display of works by School of Art and Design

By Bill StudencArt students

A work of wool and felt created by WCU students hangs in Harris Regional Cancer Center as part of a revolving display of art. From left are Dr. Jarred P. Tanksley of the cancer center; Erin Tapley, director of WCU’s School of Art and Design; Deb Ray, the center’s practice manager; and Dr. David S. Thomas of the cancer center.

Original artwork created by students, faculty and alumni from the Western Carolina University School of Art and Design is now on display at Harris Regional Hospital’s recently expanded cancer care center.

The exhibition of works by WCU artists was coordinated by Erin Tapley, director of the School of Art and Design. The artists loan their work for six-month intervals for display throughout Harris Regional Cancer Center, which has undergone an $8 million expansion for additional space and technology improvements.

Dr. David Thomas, a radiation oncologist and avid supporter of WCU programs, personally provided support for frames for the art by the WCU students.

“We are honored to display the work of such talented artists working locally within the WCU School of Art and Design,” said Thomas. “Part of the healing process can be influenced by peaceful aesthetics. The work the students, faculty, alumni and Dr. Tapley have shared with the cancer center provides patients with a visually relaxing, beautiful environment.”

Most of the displayed work was created by current students, said Tapley. “School of Art and Design students have been very eager to create and donate uplifting, calming or simply curious works of art to the cancer center. We are grateful for this exhibiting opportunity because we know the work will be seen by many people,” said Tapley, who has loaned one of her own marbled design works as part of the current exhibition.

Artists whose works are on display through March 2021 are Jenna Carry of Alamance, an art education major, watercolor; Amanda Clark of Tuckasegee, a fine arts major, charcoal drawing; Caitlyn French of Cullowhee, a studio arts major, three paintings; Rachel High of Manteo, a 2020 graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree, woodcut; Jane Hughes of Cullowhee, interior design instructor, photography; Caryn Raming of Tuckasegee, an art education major, painting; Zoe Koval of Asheville, a 2020 graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree; and a group of students from an Art 465 class, abstract paintings.

Artists whose works were on display from March through September of this year are Caitlyn French of Cullowhee, a studio arts major, pencil; Devon Jessie of Winterville, an art education major, drawing with natural plant dyes; James Myers of Japan, a 2009 graduate with a degree in art education, woodcut; Laurel Plyler of Asheville, a fine arts major, digital print; Richard Tichich, professor of photography, photograph; Alithea Whisenant of Cullowhee, a graphic design major, digital repeat design; a group of students from an Art 463 class, ceramic design; and a group of students from a 3D design class, a collection of plaster sculptures.

For more information about Harris Regional Cancer Center, visit or call 828-586-7610. For more information about WCU’s School of Art and Design, visit or call 828-227-7210.

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