Baptist Cancer Center-DeSoto Introduces Rotating Art Exhibit

Baptist Cancer Center-DeSoto opened its new rotating art exhibit with a reception on Saturday, Feb. 4. The first artist to be featured is photographer and Southaven resident Willy Bearden, a patient at Baptist Cancer Center-DeSoto. He chose the pieces in his “New Works” exhibit to bring life, vibrancy and joy to the cancer center’s waiting areas.

“It was so heartening to see friends and family, people I know and love, at the reception. We had a phenomenal crowd. But what was really remarkable was seeing the new friends, nurses and staff members I’ve gotten to know since I’ve been a patient at the center,” said Bearden. “We sometimes hear the term bandied about that everything is ‘just business.’ Well, I can tell you from personal experience that at the Baptist Cancer Center, ‘it’s all personal.’ Genuine care and attention are things that can’t be measured when you’re going through the uncertain times that a cancer diagnosis brings about. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my art with my friends, family, the staff and fellow patients.”

After this exhibit ends on March 31, Baptist Cancer Center-DeSoto will feature a new Mississippi artist every two months.

“Baptist Cancer Center is grateful to Willy Bearden and the many other local artists for allowing us to feature their work in this special exhibit for our Southaven location,” said Tabitha Smith, director of outpatient oncology services, Baptist Cancer Center-DeSoto. “We wanted to fill this center with imagery that could help comfort and soothe patients during treatment, and we believe the artwork selected can be therapeutic for cancer patients.”

Bearden is also an award-winning writer and filmmaker, known for the Memphis Memoirs documentary series on WKNO-TV. His body of work depicts many scenes of the Delta as well as studies of objects of all kinds.

“In waiting rooms, people often scroll through social media on their phones, bring a book or a magazine or anxiously wait with their minds racing,” said Bearden. “By displaying my art, I wanted to offer the kinds of images that transport the viewer and engage their minds, bringing respite and joy during troubling times. The fact that I’m also a patient of the center felt like this opportunity was meant to be.”

Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation tapped Ken Hall, volunteer with Baptist’s Art of Caring events, as curator for the rotating art space. Hall moved to DeSoto County more than two years ago to help care for his father who was a patient at Baptist Cancer Center until his passing in the fall of 2022. Hall has produced many pop-up art shows in Memphis over the past decade and serves as arts columnist for 4Memphis Magazine.

“The photography that Willy selected for the exhibit hit home with the viewers at the reception. They loved the thoughtful compositions and cheerful colors. I believe the exhibit will resonate with the patients who see it in the waiting areas and hallways in the coming weeks,” said Hall. “It takes a special mindset to assemble a body of work for a healing facility, a slightly different approach than a commercial gallery or museum, and Willy did it perfectly. This is a project that brings joy to all involved.”