The Polk County Health Department has unveiled the second painting in a series of six inspirational paintings being done and donated by local artist, Dick Shook. The second painting, titled “Weightless” features kids swimming and diving for objects in a pool. It joins the first painting, “Bike Club” that shows families riding their bikes on a rural trail. The next painting in the series is “Playground” and will show a group of basketball players getting physical activity on a playground. The series of paintings is intended to motivate visitors to be more physically active.
Shook said that the project was conceived following a visit with his wife to the clinic for a flu shot. He told his wife, “this place needs artwork.” Then he began to work through what kind of art that would be. “We spend an enormous amount of time waiting and it seemed to me we could improve on that time by using art to do more than merely decorate the walls.”
Working with Polk County Health Department director, Rick Kozin, Shook developed a series of concepts that would invite people to make healthy lifestyle choices. Kozin reported, “We know from the research that clinical medical services (seeing a doctor) is not the main factor in what makes us healthy or not. Having a supportive community environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice is much more important. With this art our waiting room becomes a supportive environment and not just a waiting room.” According to Kozin, more than 20,000 people visit the Health Department each year.
Among the paintings to be completed are images of skipping rope, strolling and yoga, overall about 210 square feet of canvas. Shook said, “What I’ve wanted to do is to show how various kinds of simple and accessible activities can enrich our lives and encourage a habit of regular, enjoyable, exercise.”