The Art of the Matter…

Friday, July 30, 2021

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New artwork adds color and family feel to hallways in Lynn Hall

As you walk the College of Veterinary Medicine’s hallways in Lynn Hall, don’t be surprised if some new “looks” catch your eye!  The walls are now graced with several new art pieces created by people you may know personally, courtesy of the Art in Lynn Hall program.

Begun in the spring of 2010, the Art in Lynn Hall program started with an initial call for members of the Purdue Veterinary Medicine family to submit proposals. The first set of three pieces was dedicated the following year.  Recalling the early days of the program, Dean Willie Reed described the unpretentious beginning by explaining, “We started this with the idea of, ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful to have members of the PVM family contribute original art that we could display in our college?’… And so, with the help of Professor of Veterinary History David Williams, who has really led this project from the beginning, it became a reality.” Dean Reed added, “I’m just always amazed at the talent that we have here amongst our students, our faculty, and our staff, and even some of the relatives of our family here in Lynn Hall.”

Fast forward to 2021, and, on the eve of his retirement this summer, Professor Williams busily readied the newest art pieces for installation by connecting the artists with Susie Gibbs to have their works framed.  He also collaborated with Facilities Manager Mike Kilpatrick, who worked with the carpenter’s office to have the artwork hung in place.

The four new pieces are the creations of Natalia Amaral, a student in the DVM class of 2022; Robert Burke, a former Purdue Veterinary Medicine laboratory technician; Roel Becerra Rangel, a graduate in the DVM class of 2021; and Aishwarya Chitnis, student in the DVM class of 2023. 

The artists provided statements about their works, which are displayed next to each installation.  A big thank you to each of the artists for their beautiful artwork, pictured here along with their statements.

painting of a girl feeding a giraffe

“Where It All Began,” oil painting by Natalia Amaral, of the DVM class of 2022, located near the Veterinary Nursing Program office

This oil painting of a child feeding a giraffe was inspired by an encounter I had at a zoo when I was eight years old. After a twenty minute giraffe feeding, I was sure that I would spend my life working with animals. I wanted to capture the feeling of awe and enthusiasm that inspired many of us to pursue this field. Whether it was an experience in the zoo, working on a family farm, or meeting a pet, we all have a memory of an animal encounter that sparked our passion to pursue this career.  As veterinary students and professionals, we can get bogged down by the overwhelming information and stress of our curriculum and work. I want this painting to serve as a reminder of why we are in this building, pouring all of our efforts into this wonderful profession.

painting of a cox

“Buttercup,” watercolor by Robert Burke, former PVM laboratory technician, located in the hallway by Large Animal Reception

I worked for the Purdue Veterinary College from 1985-1997. I then worked for Parke-Davis in Groton, Connecticut as a Research Level 3 Scientist, and worked eight years for Pfizer Global Research and Development, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before returning to Purdue in 2012.

I produced many paintings, drawings and sculpture during my Purdue days, but due to long hours and heightened stress of working in industry I created no art during my Pfizer days.

I have since been retired due to stage 4 cancer and kidney failure. The cancer is at bay, not cured, and I start dialysis soon.

I appreciate the opportunity afforded by PVM to make art again. Art is the one thing that has been a constant throughout my life. This is the first watercolor I have made in nearly 20 years. My tubes of paint, still in my kit from those days, were mostly dried up and I had to replenish my supply.

There is a lot of rust associated with this painting but it serves as a launching point. I am working on another drawing now for an old friend and hope to revisit sculpting as pushing clay seems to speak to me more than any other form of art. My hope, too, is that dialysis helps me feel better and gets me back to my drawing table with more regularity.

I was once a licensed private pilot and flying airplanes was the thing I did best, the one thing that spoke to me most clearly. Illness at a fairly young age grounded me. I could no longer pass the flight physical. I believed my life was over when I was in my late 20’s because of that.

So I started drawing. I always liked to draw when I was young but never took art classes in grade school or high school. I read books and taught myself to draw and paint and then sculpt. I believe that saved my life and I produced a lot of art for nearly a decade.

Now, cancer and kidney failure had me thinking my life is over. So, I started to draw. And paint. And sculpt. I still have work to do.

I am blessed with my wife Kathi, my daughter Angeline; a dog named Daisy, and three cats (the dog claimed me, the cats claimed my wife and daughter).

artwork of a cat

“Te veo [I see you]” beans, seeds, and grass on felt by Dr. Roel Becerra, of the DVM class of 2021, located in hallway around corner from G-155

I see that life has many shapes, as well as dreams. Each person has the opportunity to shape their own future.  Dreams come in different shapes and require hard work, passion, and perseverance; they are not accomplished in a few days. Dreams are created slowly, piece by piece and intentionally until the shape of your desired dream is achieved. Sometimes pieces may fall down and you may feel discouraged; but don’t stop assembling your dream. Just make sure next time you glue those fallen pieces even stronger than the first time. Some people are born with aspects of their future already shaped or in place; while others may have to find a way to shape their future and accomplish it. If you see yourself as having physical and mental limitations do not allow them to limit the shaping of your future. With dedication you can see that a limitation is just an unshaped skill, that needs work to be shaped.

artwork of a pig

Azul cielo [Blue sky],” beans, seeds, and grass on felt by Dr. Roel Becerra, located located in hallway around corner from G-155

Live the present, study the past, and plan the future.

artwork of a dog

“Happy to help,” finger painting in oil by Aishwarya Chitnis, of the DVM class of 2023, located near the Veterinary Nursing Program office

Canine educators are an essential part of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine curriculum and have helped aspiring veterinarians learn essential skills that have helped them for the rest of their lives. Personally, the canine educator program is one of my favorite parts of our veterinary school.

This is a 30” x 30” finger painting created using oil paints. I created this painting in honor of the canines who have walked the hallways of our school and have filled our hearts with joy.

As it turns out, the installation of these pieces not only coincided with Professor Williams’ retirement, but also represented one of Susie Gibbs’ last projects before her retirement.  Reflecting on the role Susie Gibbs has played in the Art in Lynn Hall program, Professor Williams recalled, “She framed all of the art in Lynn Hall over many years, and in particular worked with several of the students on choosing an appropriate frame. I always thought this was something the students enjoyed, and I know Susie did.”

Another important partner in the Art in Lynn Hall program through the years has been Executive Director and CEO of the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette Kendall Smith II. In addition to the artwork created by PVM family members, the Lynn Hall art collection also includes pieces from the Art Museum’s community art projects through the years. “Give a Dog a Bone, an X-ray View” by artist Liz Rainey, which was part the “Dog Days of Summer” community art project that honored the College’s 50th and Art Museum’s 100th anniversaries, currently welcomes visitors at the entrance to the Veterinary Medical Library. Likewise, “Rockette, the Circus Bear,” a donation to the college by Purdy Concrete, was created by artist Bonnie Zimmerman as part of Art Museum’s “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” project.

Writer(s): Susan Xioufaridou |

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