Student Health Center showcases local artists

September 08, 2008

University Park, Pa. -- When administrators from University Health Services (UHS) and the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) began planning for the new Student Health Center, they were ready for a change. Health services for students had been housed in Ritenour Building since 1929. The health care needs of Penn State students had outpaced twenty renovations and two additional wings.
Dr. Margaret Spear, director of University Health Services, had a vision. “We wanted the new health center to be a bright, inviting space—a place students would want to visit.”
That vision included bright colors, modern building materials, and art. A committee was created to research and make art recommendations for the public spaces in the new health center. Since the building was scheduled to open in June, a natural place to start was with Rick Bryant, director of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.
Bryant toured the building and shared his knowledge of area artists. Two Arts Fest regulars, Sandi Garris and Pat Little, provided a good fit with the new, modern spaces. Garris and Little were featured in the exhibit space on the main floor of the Student Health Center this summer. The artists were then asked to create permanent pieces for the health center.
Garris, a State College quilt artist, was commissioned to create a geometric quilt called Pi Woods for the prominent wall behind the information desk in the health promotion area. Little, a photographer from Philipsburg, captured an extreme closeup of rock crystals on canvas for permanent display in the pharmacy waiting area. Both pieces amplify the color and intensity of the building.
Students, faculty, staff and visitors are encouraged to stop by the Student Health Center to view the building design and recent art acquisitions. To learn more about Sandi Garris’ work, visit Additional information about Pat Little can be found at

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Last Updated March 19, 2009