Bauer & Caruccio

Larry Bauer and Lorraine Caruccio, holding her acrylic painting “Fire” from her “Four Elements” series.

Creating art is nothing new for Clinical Center employees Lorraine Caruccio and Larry Bauer. But the opportunity to exhibit their work on the walls of Building 10 is.

Caruccio, research scientist in the Department of Transfusion Medicine, and Bauer, patient recruitment specialist in the Office of Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison, are two of the 32 NIH artists participating in an exhibit showcasing some of their creative talents other than the ones they apply on the job.

The idea came from Deanne Alpert, who came to NIH a year ago as a post-baccalaureate Institutional Research Training Award recipient in NHLBI. She noticed that scientists often expressed themselves through music, such as the NIH Chamber Orchestra and the NIH Chamber Singers. Alpert, however, balances her science work with drawing, painting, and attending exhibits at art museums, and hoped to identify other NIH scientists who are also visual artists. “Being creative outside of science helps to increase problem-solving in the laboratory or elsewhere,” she said.

Alpert hoped that by designing a scientist-focused show, CC patients and non-scientific NIH staff would consider the scientific community in a new light and see the results not only of their analytic thinking, but also their creative instincts. It’s also beneficial for scientists to have the opportunity to display their work within their own community, and possibly inspire other scientists, she said.

Lillian Fitzgerald, curator of the CC galleries; Crystal Parmele, director of the CC art program; and Alpert judged submissions for the show. Although they planned to select only 20 pieces, after seeing the artists’ diverse talent—with works including photography, drawing, quilts, Chinese brush print, glass, embroidery, and origami—they expanded the event to include one piece from each of the 32 artists. The jury sought images appropriate for a hospital setting that reflected the artists’ individuality.

"Succulent #1" by Larry Bauer

“Succulent #1,” Bauer’s enhanced photograph with saturated color, printed on canvas, and finished with high gloss

Both Bauer and Caruccio enjoy exhibiting their work and value the new outlet the show provides. For Bauer, who holds a bachelor’s of fine arts and designs advertisements and flyers for PRPL, his art is a place to create without constraints, such as size or color. His cactus photograph is one of several images captured about a year ago at the Getty Museum’s gardens in Los Angeles. The vivid colors added by computer reflect the love of saturated, pure color found in the deserts of India and Mali.

Caruccio, who studied art privately since childhood and at Glen Echo and the Smithsonian, in 2005 won the annual program design contest for the DTM/American Red Cross joint symposium on blood banking. She’s known for realistic portraits of people, animals, flowers, and landscapes, but her series in the CC exhibit is an example of her exploration of abstract painting. “I’m having fun with the freedom abstract art provides,” she said.

Bauer remembers enjoying CC art shows and discussing them with patients since he began working here as a clinical research nurse in 1991, and both artists agree that the original, changing art exhibits on the CC’s walls make this hospital unique. Caruccio said she was excited to participate in an art event at NIH. “We have a lot of diverse talents here making NIH even more special than most people realize.”