Hickman’s Art at CHI Health Good Samaritan a Respite Even During Pandemic

CHI Health Good Samaritan recently welcomed artist Sheryll Hickman to its Walkway Gallery. The 79-year-old former Alma resident and cancer survivor’s paintings can be viewed on the hospital’s website through July.

This is the first time an exhibit in the Walkway Gallery at Good Samaritan has also been viewable online.

A healing aid, according to Randy DeFreece, director of the Good Samaritan Foundation and chairman of the Art Steering Committee, the gallery has provided a respite and distraction to those walking the hospital’s halls since 2008. This spring, challenges arose with the need for social distancing.

"We, of course, wanted to decrease traffic inside the hospital to slow the spread and protect our patients. But now, more than ever, sharing Sheryll’s beautiful artwork and inspiring story was very important to us. Moving the gallery online was a good solution," said DeFreece.

Hickman’s oil paintings feature landscapes, flora and fauna of the plains. The change to digital has proven successful with 12 pieces already sold. A portion of sales is being donated to the CHI Health Cancer Center at Good Samaritan to support others battling the disease.

"Sheryll’s exhibit has been one of our most popular. Due in part to her inspiring story and unwavering dedication, she’s been able to make a significant and much appreciated contribution to our cancer patients," says DeFreece.

In her Artist Statement, Hickman further explains her journey:

"Now 79, I have been an artist all my life but have really kicked in on the art lately because I realized I was running out of time. I am a wife, mother of 4, with 10 grandkids and 3 great-grandkids. We moved from Alma 9 years ago. For many years I had put my brushes up and was wife and mother, grandmother, etc."

"I had lived in Alma most of my life (owned a floral shop), but then I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer 17 years ago. I have been in remission 16 years now. I was treated at CSI and the CHI Health Cancer Center in Kearney."

"I was so pleased to be chosen to show at the Walkway Gallery. Last year, I fell on December 8 and broke my leg, then laid two months wondering if I could actually get this show put together. But, with the help of my husband, Neil, it happened."

"When I had cancer, all I could think about was, ‘I’ve got so many paintings I wanted to do;’ so, I kicked it in gear and have been doing many commissioned pieces of farms, home murals, portraits, and I also painted two of the 6’ cranes to auction off in Kearney."

"My faith is very important to me, and after I got so I could stand and walk—which took about 3 months—I attended church, and the first hymn was ‘Standing on the Promises of God.’ So, I decided to name my paintings after hymns. Hope you enjoy."

Hickman’s paintings can be viewed online.

About the Walkway Gallery

The Walkway Gallery is a dedicated corridor connecting the main hospital to the West Tower at Good Samaritan. This gallery gives regional artists more than 90 feet of display space with lighting and security systems to professionally highlight their artistic works. It was developed as part of Good Samaritan's Planetree philosophy of patient-centered healing.

The Art Steering Committee follows a competitive selection process using documented research criteria for art that supports healing in a hospital environment to choose the artists featured in the gallery. A new artist will display his or her works every four months. To submit art for consideration, please contact the Foundation at (308) 865-2700.