TIRR Memorial Hermann Unveils New Artwork by Former Patient Jared Dunten
TIRR Memorial Hermann unveiled Thursday new artwork by former patient Jared Dunten, who uses his mouth to paint. In April 2000, Dunten dove into the Rio Grande during a camping trip and subsequently suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down.
The new artwork features two canvas paintings hanging on each side of the main lobby entrance. Titled “C4” and “C5,” Dunten’s paintings are inspired by the two vertebrae that were damaged from his accident.
“The one I’m staring at is a little bit more chaotic. That’s a little bit like life when you have an accident like this. You really have your world turned upside down,” Dunten said of the first painting patients see when entering the lobby. “Ideally, when you leave you have a much better idea. You have a much clearer path ahead of you. You’ve got through all this stuff with your family and your friends. The idea is that the one behind me is a little smoother and there is still hope at the end of this thing in the form of a bud that has yet to open.”
“TIRR Memorial Hermann, from its founding, has had a vision of building a community where all individuals are valued for their abilities and contributions that are full participants in public life. The art we’ve installed throughout our facilities is meant to portray life with disability balanced with a message of optimism and hope,” said Carl Josehart, chief executive officer of TIRR Memorial Hermann. “That has been the driving vision behind TIRR Memorial Hermann for 50 years. That vision is reflected through the eyes of former patients who decorate our halls. Through sharing their stories, we hope to convey the message that different can be good, different can be a gift in and of itself, difference can ignite a passion or a skill or a talent that individuals have yet to discover.
“The beautiful images [Dunten] creates have decorated TIRR for years. In fact, one of his paintings hangs in my office and has been behind my desk for nearly a decade,” Josehart added. “His work serves as a constant inspiration and guide for me to remind me of the mission and values that direct our work here at TIRR.”