The "Art of Wellness" exhibit was officially opened to the public Thursday at a reception in the Altru Professional Center at South Washington Street and 44th Avenue South in Grand Forks.

The exhibit, a joint project of the Public Arts Commission and Altru Health System, features about 120 works by local and regional artists or those with ties to the region.

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About half of the artworks are from the private collection of Bruce Gjovig of Grand Forks.

During brief remarks at the reception, Dave Molmen, who retired Dec. 31 as Altru's CEO, thanked the members of the Public Arts Commission for their work on this project and Gjovig for lending a portion of his art collection for the exhibit.

"(Gjovig) understands the value of art deeply," Molmen said, "and set a high standard" for the exhibit.

In his remarks, Gjovig said, "Art defines who we are, and it reflects who we are."

"It gives me great joy to see people who might not otherwise get a chance to see art, to see this," he said.

Meghan Compton, Altru's executive vice president and chief legal officer, said the exhibit "gives a different sense of calm and a different experience" for patients, their families and those who work in the building

"The impact is significant," she said.

Altru already offers music and animal therapy for patients, "so this is another component of a nontraditional way to promote wellness," Compton said.

The artworks represent a wide range of media, including oil and watercolor paintings, photography, mixed media, sculptures and prints.

The art "has changed the whole feeling of the place," said Jason Restemayer, local interior designer who was in charge of hanging and lighting the artworks.

The PAC is working with Altru officials to identify other areas for displaying art "campus-wide," said Sally Miskavige, a PAC board member.

Daphnae Koop, Minneapolis, who had several mixed media pieces on display, said that

"being part of a healing space, in an environment like this, is one of the best opportunities I can imagine."