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Artist’s work operates as board game for La Grange exhibit
Photo caption: Marlee Elslager of Orland Park has created a pair of bean bag game boards for Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. They will be part of the La Grange Business Association's "Fun and Games" summer art installation.

La Grange – Artist Marlee Elslager welcomed her assignment: create a piece for Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital to be a part of the summer art exhibit sponsored by the La Grange Business Association.

Easy? No. The theme this year was “Fun and Games,” words not usually associated with a stay in the hospital. Plus, each work had to function as a bean bag game.

But Elslager, an Orland Park resident, found her inspiration in another kind of board game that doesn’t involve tossing anything.

“My first instinct was to go with Operation, a children’s board game,” said Elslager, a 25-year-old art instructor at the Bottle and Bottega studio in La Grange. “My figures are based on the game. I used bright colors.

“It’s fun and appropriate for children. It’s a light-hearted approach to going into a hospital. I knew a lot of kids would see it.”

Elslager’s work is on display in downtown La Grange and is one of about 50 pieces that will be auctioned for charity Sept. 6.

Elslager’s contribution to the exhibit consists of two wooden boards, painted with acrylic paint, each about 2-by-4 feet. One board features a surgeon observing the Operation patient, seemingly ready to pounce with a pair of tweezers. The second board features a standard view of the game’s patient, with game pieces ready for removal, such as a pencil that represents writer’s cramp.

“Marlee’s work is nostalgic, but it is also for all ages,” said Dinna Huneryager, senior marketing event specialist for Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. “It’s fun and whimsical. Health care is a serious business, but it can have its lighter moments. This helps to illustrate that.”

As an art instructor at Bottle and Bottega, Elslager teaches students how to paint on canvas, on beer mugs and on wine glasses. She also paints on vintage windows.

“They are abstracts, from my imagination,” Elslager said. “I enjoy the flexibility of my job, and getting to create my own works.”

Elslager is also a photographer who does family portraits. She and her husband, Brian, a salesman for a beverage company, are expecting their first child in November.


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.