Sanderson honored for her contributions to art scene

Barb Sanderson, center, is presented with a plaque honoring her contributions to the Grand Itasca and regional art scene. Presenting the plaque are Elizabeth Miskovich, Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital board member left, and Kelly Kirwin, Director of Foundation & Community Relations, right.

Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital recently unveiled its newest art collection. The Close to Home collection, which can be found in the Cancer & Infusion Center and OB/Gyn clinic space, is an extension of the original Art + Giving collection that can be found throughout the facility. When the integrated clinic and hospital opened in 2005, artwork from 35 regional artists was purchased for display at the facility. The intention of the staff and community members responsible for this project was to bring the peace and healing power of art to the thousands of patients and visitors that come to Grand Itasca. The Close to Home collection grows from these roots, expanding the art experience for patients and their families.

This new collection was made possible by funding from Grand Itasca Foundation, as part of the Close to Home Capital Campaign, which raised more than $2 million for the new Cancer & Infusion Center.

“We are incredibly grateful to the artists, donors and community partners who generously shared their work and resources with us for this new collection” said Kelly Kirwin, Director of Foundation and Community Relations.

One of the exceptional community members who has played a significant part in the procurement of both the original Art + Giving collection and the more recent Close to Home collection is Barb Sanderson. Coined the 'Godmother of the Local Arts Scene,' Sanderson has made a significant impact on not only the art experience at Grand Itasca, but also the regional art scene as a whole.

"She's always been a philanthropist, both with her contributions to projects such as the artwork at Grand Itasca, but also with her words of support and encouragement for local artists, including myself and my husband. She's just been so generous over the years," said local artist, Kathy Jasper.

At the formal unveiling of the new Close to Home collection, Grand Itasca staff and artists who have pieces in the collection gathered, as Sanderson was honored for her contributions. Presented to her was a plaque that now hangs in the clinic lobby and honors Sanderson's "unending devotion to, passion for, and support of artwork at Grand Itasca and throughout the community."

Sanderson believes in the power of art and healing and says "we are so fortunate to have so many accomplished artists in northern Minnesota who are now included in the new Cancer & Infusion Center collection. Being surrounded by art of this quality is important for patients and family members. Great medical care and great art are both part of the healing process."

To learn more about the Close to Home collection, visit


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