Student?s painting instills community

Emma Dejong

Emma DejongManaging Editor

Out of 160 art submission invitations and 15 artists,SDSU’s Senior Barbara Wehde was selected to have her work displayed in the new cancer institute.

After three years of planning, the new Avera Cancer Institute has become a reality and SDSU students have had a part in the process.

The Sioux Falls community celebrated the opening at the Building Hope Gala on Oct. 29, ready to serve patients Nov. 8.

“We wanted to be able to introduce the building to the general public in a celebration,” said Richard Molseed, senior vice president of Avera McKennan. “We ended up with over 3,000 guests.”

Senior biology major Barbara Wehde had a role behind the scenes.

The Avera Cancer Institute bought one of her oil paintings to hang in the café. She was the only student artist selected out of the 15 artists whose work now adorns the building. These include paintings, photographs, sculptures, needlepoint art and blown glass.

“We invited like 160 artists to submit proposals, and Barbara was one of those,” Molseed said. “Everybody else that was chosen are established artists that have a history of doing commissioned work in the area.”

The painting is an abstract illustration of two people sitting in a café that depicts a “sense of community,” Wehde said.

“It’s very colorful and you kind of get lost in it,” Molseed said.

Wehde is not an art major but said she enjoys it as a means of relaxing between reading and studying for classes.

“I got really stressed with a one-dimensional character of myself,” Wehde said. “I needed an outlet.”

Painting provides that outlet.

“The reason why I’m not an art major is I need science,” Wehde said. “Art is more of an expression. You can guide it, but it comes from within.”

After a three-month process of evaluating all the applicants, Molseed said the art committee, made up of employees and artists, decided Wehde’s piece would enhance the atmosphere of a café setting.

“It just fits thematically, but also fits the theme of the building of people meeting that have connections with each other,” Molseed said. “It is something that brings life to this part of the building.”

To encourage this same spirit of life and community, world champion cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong was the keynote speaker at the gala.

Armstrong tweeted Oct. 28, “One other thing Sioux Falls… Let’s ride! 4pm Twitter ride. Let’s meet at 23rd and Cliff Ave.”

“The day before on Thursday he said he would do a ride,” Molseed said. “We quickly managed to generate a route with police and all.”

An estimated 400-500 people rode the 15-mile route through Sioux Falls with Armstrong. One of the hundreds was sophomore nutrition major Jourdan Clark.

“I was probably within 5 or 6 feet of him,” Clark said. “For me it was probably one of the greatest rides I’ve ever had on a bike. Watching him, he just made it seem so effortless.”

Armstrong’s organization is not one that’s under the radar. The Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Livestrong is an organization that raises funds and support for those affected by cancer.

“He’s not cycling for himself,” Clark said. “He’s riding for other people.”

With both the artwork and speaker selection, Molseed said the decisions were made to “meet the needs of our community.”

“The initial goal is to have a new place that is full of dignity and honor for the people that have to come here for treatment,” Molseed said.