Jefferson Humanities & Health Programs

Featured Student Artwork

2023-2024: Futures

Each year, Jefferson Humanities & Health commissions a student to create a work of art that resonates with our programming for the academic year. This year we commissioned three students to respond to the 2023-2024 theme of Futures and how this theme resonates with them as healthcare workers. Below are their pieces and artists' statements.

2023-2024 Student Artists

Oil is a medium of permanence that has allowed us to use past works to teach us about the present, and even about the future. “Moving Fast, and Slow” was intentionally painted in oil to capture this notion, depicting an amorphous figure racing forward but looking backward. Organic forms juxtaposed with refined geometries help to establish the narrative of this piece. The parallel lines left in the figure’s wake evoke the feeling of movement from left to right, past to future. Perhaps that movement is literal, or perhaps it is more abstract. The colors featured communicate the diversity of events and experiences in the figure’s past, an invisible trail we all leave behind. While the dynamic lines in this piece represent forward motion, the focus captured in the figure’s expression is on what lays behind, almost trying to make sense of something that has already been. Similarly, we must always look to the past as we move into the future, to learn from missteps and use them as the foundation for improvement. In Medicine especially, we are obligated to practice this ritual to advance patient care and improve lives. And from our most recent past, the COVID pandemic has taught us much about how we can do so. The dynamic nature of “Moving Fast, and Slow” pays homage to this concept of striding at an ever-increasing pace forward while simultaneously looking backward for wisdom, as there is always something to be learned from the past if we choose to look.

Connor Crutchfield, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, 2025

When I think of my future as a healthcare worker, I think about how I will maintain a feeling of agency as a physician. In theory, physicians have the final say in a patient’s care. Instead, our clinical decisions are often influenced by insurance coverage, hospital administration, law, and policy. I must either resign to these external forces or advocate for what I think is best for the patient. 

 I see my future profession as inherently political. We’re forced to acknowledge the pitfalls in US systems every day in the clinic. I believe that a more equitable and just healthcare system is possible, but it must be fought for. As a member of the next generation of healthcare leaders I realize we have the power to make these changes. My piece, Finding Our Voice, is meant to celebrate the young physicians who are learning to push against obstinate systems. 

I first conceptualized this piece after reading a prompt in an ethics journal. It tasked artists with creating a work based on an ethical dilemma presently facing physicians. At the time, Roe v Wade had just been overturned by the Supreme Court. I created this piece to vocalize my frustrations against governmental sanctions that prevent doctors from providing what I see to be comprehensive healthcare. This is a digital piece of art drawn on my iPad in the app Procreate.

Benjamin Fleet,  Sidney Kimmel Medical College, 2024

This piece is 30 x 40" oil on canvas. Titled "I am the sea and I drown in myself" I made this piece in the wake of the pandemic. However, I feel it's relevance still reigns true, the piece was created to express my own bad habit of overthinking and rumination during a time of uncertainty. It still holds significance to me and my new journey in my career, choosing to become an art therapist was one of the scariest things I've ever done. And when I began working as a student art therapist, I opened myself up to other people's stories of trauma and heartbreak. As a newer therapist I'm still figuring out ways to separate myself from my client's problems and how not let weight of them crush me. It's a learning curve and trying not to let thoughts of how I can better help my clients keep me awake at night has proved challenging. This piece perfectly captures what can happen to the minds mental health workers if we do not take time to engage in self-care practices. Self-care is important to keep the worries away, don't let the negative thoughts drag you under. 

Faith Higgins, College of Health Professions, 2024.

2022-2023: Repair

This year's artwork—responding to the 2022-2023 theme of Repair—is a series of black-and-white digital photographs by Jasmine Wang, a fourth-year medical student at Sidney Kimmel Medical College. Jasmine’s project, called Building in Tetris, includes a title image as well as five individual photographs that together make up the ‘pieces’ of the larger composite image: HumansMechanicalMedicineSchool and Nature. We asked Jasmine to tell us about herself and her project. Read on for her bio and interview!

Meet Jasmine Wang

I am a fourth-year medical student (Class of 2023) at Sidney Kimmel Medical College from Newark, Delaware. Growing up, I focused a lot more on performance arts but always kept an interest in fine arts in the back of my mind. I was able to explore that further when I took a few classes in drawing, painting, and photography during my time in undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. That training has provided a great foundation for me to explore my creative interests.

Artist Statement

Life follows a dynamic path with cycles of ups and downs. These past couple of years with COVID have created some of the deepest troughs in our lives. As we slowly but surely climb out of this valley, we can reflect on the mechanisms by which this occurs. Repair, in the simplest definition, symbolizes the course by which a broken concept is restored to its original or better state. In a twist on the classic game of Tetris, the title piece includes various "blocks" that represent how we augment broken relationships in "Humans," broken projects in "School," broken bodies in "Medicine," broken constructs in "Mechanical," and broken life forms in “Nature.” More importantly, we need to consider how best to arrange and utilize these blocks effectively so that life is supported on a solid foundation. "Building in Tetris" hopes to inspire thoughts on the complex meanings of repair in one's life.  

How did you develop an interest in art?

I went to a middle school that incorporated art classes as part of their curriculum and that seeded my interests. I really enjoyed being able to use my own hands to create a piece and contemplate the endless ways of representing ideas. During college I branched out from the pre-medicine path and had the freedom to explore art with formal training. I eventually ended up buying my own DSLR and have since been carrying it with me everywhere on trips. I’m the documenter for my travel buddies!

What artistic mediums and materials do you prefer to work with? Why?

Currently, I use digital photography the most. It provides me the most accessible access to a creative outlet, and I am able to bring my camera with me anywhere. With post-processing of images, I am further able to expand the possibilities of the outcome of my photos. The most impactful type of photography for me that I have used is analog photography. I shot pictures in black and white film and was able to personally print my pictures in a darkroom. I appreciated the intentionality of film and hope to one day return to this medium!

Past Featured Student Artwork

2021-2022 Featured Artwork for "Origins” theme | "Grandpa's Mother Had a Stroke," digital illustration | Zoe Wong, SKMC Class of 2023
2021-2022 Featured Artwork for "Origins” theme | "Grandpa Came in 1960 on a Student Visa," digital illustration | Zoe Wong, SKMC Class of 2023
2021-2022 Featured Artwork for "Origins” theme | "but cancer was us," digital illustration | Zoe Wong, SKMC Class of 2023
2020-2021 Featured Artwork for "Creativity" theme | "Beach Day," digital illustration | Michael O'Connor, SKMC Class of 2023
2020-2021 Featured Artwork for "Creativity" theme | "Busy at Home," digital illustration | Michael O'Connor, SKMC Class of 2023
2019-2020 Featured Artwork for "Memory" theme | "Gentrified," collage | Tariro Mupaso, JCRS Class of 2022
2019-2020 Featured Artwork for "Memory" theme | "Progressive Battle," collage | Tariro Mupaso, JCRS Class of 2022