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North Rowan High student creates artwork for Community Care Clinic

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A North Rowan High School student gifted the Community Care Clinic a commissioned artwork she created as part of a collaboration between the clinic and a visual arts class.

Last month, Aniya O’Neal, a junior at North, gave the clinic a set of paintings that align with the clinic’s mission in a funky, whimsical way. Community Care Clinic Executive Director Krista Woolly said the project was in conjunction with the school’s partnership with Fresh Artists, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that provides underfunded schools with art supplies and works to feature students’ artwork in corporate collections. The program was piloted at North Rowan Middle School in 2018 and has since expanded.

Fresh Artists provided O’Neal with the art supplies needed to bring the idea on paper to life as a painting on the wall. The clinic coordinated with Sherry Mason Brown and Leigh Ann Alexander, both teachers in the visual arts program. Woolly said the clinic renovated its facility on Mocksville Avenue three years ago, and a blank wall in the community meeting room was in need of some artwork. The clinic coordinated with Brown and Alexander and came up with the idea of using art supplies from Fresh Artists to allow a student in the visual arts program at North Rowan High the opportunity to commission artwork for the blank wall.

O’Neal and several other students then toured the clinic to learn more about its mission and the services offered, which includes medical, dental and pharmacy services to the uninsured and underinsured in Rowan County. The pandemic prolonged the project, Woolly said, but “Aniya continued to follow through with it.” The other students who accompanied her have since graduated.

O’Neal said she was inspired by a mural in the main lobby of the clinic that was painted for the clinic’s 20th anniversary celebration.

“The mural features a large tree and incorporates the door from the original location to show the clinic’s mission of opening the door to good health,” O’Neal said. “I also wanted to include funky designs that highlighted the services provided.”

The color red and hearts, both represented in the Community Care Clinic’s logo, are used throughout the paintings. One painting features two hands joining together to form a heart, which O’Neal says showcases the many ethnicities represented in the patient population at the clinic.

“Whimsical themes seem to work for us,” Woolly said.

The clinic’s Board of Directors in August awarded O’Neal with a certificate of appreciation.

“We are forever grateful to Aniya for sharing her talents with us and creating the beautiful artwork for the clinic,” said Shawn Edman, board co-chair. “Our staff and patients will enjoy the lovely paintings for years to come as we work to fulfill our mission and take care of our neighbors in need.”

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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