Alum’s art selected for display by National Academies of Medicine

Jessica Lardizabal

By Deborah Ziff Soriano

A piece of artwork by Jessica Lardizabal, BSN ’18 —submitted to a National Academies of Medicine nationwide art contest called, “Young Leaders Visualize Health Equity” — has been selected for display in a permanent online gallery starting in fall 2019.

Lardizabal’s piece, entitled, “Lift Me Up,” uses the medium of paper collage to show four children rising up in a hot air balloon, answering the contest’s call: “What does the world look like when everyone has the same chance to be healthy, safe and happy?”

“I decided to create a hot air balloon because when children are surrounded by an environment that devotes itself to protecting them and letting them flourish, they are lifted higher,” she wrote in the artist’s statement attached to her submission. “They dream bigger, they strive further, and they become better in every aspect of their being.”

The contest was open to young leaders, ages 5 to 26, and tasked them with using art to explore how social determinants of health — things like jobs, transportation, neighborhoods, and housing — play a role in shaping their lives and communities. The National Academy of Medicine is a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C.

Lardizabal recently accepted a position with Hillcrest Nursing Center in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, and is pursuing a master’s in counseling psychology with a concentration in expressive art therapy.

She does not have a formal background in art but tries to find creative ways to insert art into her life and work. For her UIC Honors College Capstone project, she and a fellow classmate created a children’s book to tackle trypanophobia (fear of needles).

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