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Best of Show artist inspired by beauty of God’s creation

Photo of Michael Devaney.Photo caption: Michael Devaney with his Best of Show entry “Flower Garden.” For a larger version of this image, click on the photo.

Hinsdale – Artist Michael Devaney has worked at a few jobs in the trades, spending time as an electrician and a carpenter. Right now, he’s a truck driver.

But that work has never spoken to him the way art does. When he paints, Devaney feels a special, spiritual connection with God. That is why his work mainly focuses on landscapes.

“It gives me a chance to focus on the natural beauty that God created in our world,” he said.

Devaney recently was awarded Best of Show honors during Adventist Midwest Health’s second annual National Arts Program® Healing Arts Exhibit. The exhibit – featuring art by hospital volunteers, staff and their family members – was on display at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital from Nov. 6, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014.

“The work produced for this year’s show was spectacular,” said Sue Kett, who leads Adventist Midwest Health’s Healing Arts program. “We appreciate the support of the National Arts Program in helping bring this show back to our hospitals this year. Without them, we would not have had the chance to put the talents of our artists on display.”

Devaney’s award-winning piece, titled “Flower Garden,” is a reproduction of a Monet he painted three years ago. While some of Devaney’s work has been displayed at the Brigantine Gallery in Downers Grove, the National Arts Program show was his first display in a public exhibit.

“My sister is a nurse at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, and she’s the one that convinced me I should be in the show,” Devaney said. “I didn’t believe I was good enough, but maybe I am.”

In choosing a Best of Show winner, the executive team at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital searched for something that represented healing, said Michael Murrill, vice president and chief financial officer for the hospital.

“Michael’s depiction of a flower garden amidst a summer setting portrayed peace and serenity,” Murrill said. “It felt as if the woman in the painting was walking through a healing garden. The hospital seeks to provide a healing sanctuary for our patients, so we felt a deep connection with his work.”

Devaney’s painting also provided his family with one last touching memory of his father, who recently died of lung cancer.

In his last weeks, Devaney’s father spent time at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital for surgery. Devaney’s painting, complete with its Best of Show ribbon, was on display at the hospital the day his father was discharged. He had an opportunity to view it before he left.

Not long after his return home, Devaney’s father passed.

“It meant the world to me, his having a chance to see that,” Devaney said.

While Devaney garnered top honors at the show, many other professional and amateur artists won awards. They include:

PEOPLE’S CHOICE (Determined by employee, visitor and patient votes)

Professional: Alyson Pouls of Chicago, Color Wheel

Intermediate: Abby Malvestuto of Oak Lawn, Captain Marvel

Amateur: Amber Kuhn of Romeoville, Powerful

Teen: Adventist Hinsdale Hospital Behavioral Health Teens (& Pam Pinto), Funky Sol

Youth: Steven Wrzesinski of Lake Zurich, Whispering Tree

$2,400 in National Arts Program prize money, including the Best of Show, was awarded to:


First Place: Aspara Attavane of Bolingbrook

Second Place: Aarna Srinivasan of Westmont

Third Place: John Isacson of Elmhurst

Honorable Mention: Steven Wrzesinski of Lake Zurich


First Place: Madeline Grodek of Countryside

Second Place: Victoria Saint Martin of Oak Brook

Third Place: Claudia Valasquez of Downers Grove

Honorable Mention: Mia Napolitano of Hinsdale


First Place: Wally Mietus of Burbank

Second Place: Amanda Orrantia of Plainfield

Third Place: Kris Veenbaas of Willowbrook

Honorable Mention: Mark Moy of Oak Brook


First Place: Michael Brooks of Elmhurst

Second Place: Stephanie Saint Martin of Oak Brook

Third Place: Joseph Kizor of Downers Grove

Honorable Mention: Alex Scheidt of Joliet


First Place: Bert Kullen of Aurora

Second Place: Ann Saladino of La Grange

Third Place: Margaret Cosper of Hinsdale

Honorable Mention: Curtiss Louisville of Joliet


Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit

Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.

Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; (630) 856-2354.