New installation showcases artwork of UK alumna

For 25 years, Ellen Skidmore has found solace in art. As a stutterer, Skidmore discovered the non-verbal communication experienced in painting to be liberating and grounding. During her time as a student at a small liberal arts college in Kentucky, she began painting seriously. It was then she began to realize how this visual communication would allow her to interact more openly with herself and those around her.

While working on a children’s book to teach the alphabet, Skidmore began to share her story of living with a stutter and ultimately the book evolved and became, “Ellen the Little Girl Who Found her Voice.” This story serves as somewhat of an autobiography to illustrate how, like many children, Ellen was able to adapt and overcome. Skidmore hopes viewers will respond to the overall message that it’s okay to be different and we don’t need to try to be perfect.

After writing the story, Skidmore, who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts, created the illustrations that would accompany the words. These larger pieces were put on display and, last summer, Skidmore celebrated the works completion with an art exhibit and book launch at Forre & Co. Art Gallery in Aspen, Colorado.

Skidmore feels a clinical setting is perfect for this piece; she hopes patients, staff and visitors will see her work. “Find your passion; if you find something in your life that is grounding you should stick to it no matter what,” she said.

The exhibit is currently on display in the North Gallery, located on the third floor of the Kentucky Clinic, in the hallway leading to the Limestone pedestrian bridge connecting the clinic to the Biomedical Biological Sciences Research Building. It is brought to you by the UK Arts in HealthCare program.


Studies show that integrating the arts into health care settings cultivates a healing environment; supports the physical, mental and emotional recovery of patients; and communicates health and recovery information. It also helps reduce stress and improves workplace satisfaction for caregivers. The mission of the UK Arts in HealthCare Program is to create a healing environment of care and to focus on the spiritual and emotional well-being of our patients, families, caregivers and staff.

The UK Arts in HealthCare Program, supported by the generosity of private donors, brings together visual and performing arts, incorporating the unique aspects of Kentucky landscape, art and music. The program highlights local, national and international artists, art in multiple forms, and various initiatives to enhance the healing environment. You will find art throughout our facilities, and the public is always welcome to visit and view exhibits.