Local Artists Gift UNM ICU Nurses with Hundreds of Pieces of Art and Jewelry
Amanda Brown, RN, an intensive care nurse at The University of New Mexico Hospital, wanted to do something nice for her coworkers by presenting them with gifts to remind them they were special long after this spring’s pandemic has passed. A small piece of art seemed like it would fit the bill.
She was not sure what she could buy while keeping within her $200 budget, but she knew where she wanted it spent.
“I grew up in Los Lunas, and the moment I had the idea, I knew I would wanted to be able to shop in the Tomé Gallery,” she says. “It seemed like it would be a way to support a local business while buying presents for the ICU nurses.”
With that as the plan, she contacted Jan Pacifico, a potter and owner of the Tomé Gallery, and explained that for $200, she hoped to buy 50 small pieces for each of the nurses in the UNMH Medical ICU. The gallery is closed due the COVID-19 virus, but that did not stop Pacifico from wanting to participate in the gift exchange.
She began calling area artists to ask for donations and received an enthusiastic response.
“I was so proud of the gallery people,” Pacifico says. “Everyone was just so grateful to the nurses and other medical personnel on the front lines. They stepped up immediately and said, ‘I want to be part of this and don’t worry about paying me.’ Several people created pieces just for the nurses.”
Brown picked up more than 300 pieces at the gallery – and then was called back for a second trip.
Those donations led to the sea of gift bags full of cards, small art pieces and jewelry that greeted nurses recently when they entered their break room at the hospital.
“It was just a lovely experience,” Pacifico says. “I was so overwhelmed when I saw the pictures of nurses opening their bags, I just sat and cried in gratitude for the artists.”
The Los Lunas gallery, with an older staff and roster of artists, remains closed except by appointment, Pacifico says. They are currently looking at strengthening their web presence. She can be contacted at email@example.com .