The art of good intentions
Art and science have always been considered two sides of the same coin. Keith Haldeman is an example of using both aptitudes for professional and personal enrichment. His profession is in science but his passion is in the arts, and he has managed to combine the two in a way that benefits SMMC. As a Physician’s Assistant in the Operating Room for the past 32 years, Keith uses his critical thinking skills to assist numerous surgeons in cardiac, orthopedic, general and Robotic procedures. At home in his studio he uses his creative skills to create beautiful glass bowls, ornaments, and vases.
In college Keith wanted to pursue his interest in fine arts but was unable to take the classes he wanted without declaring that as a major. So he double majored in biology and fine arts at Rutgers, where he received his Bachelor of Science. Keith realized supporting himself would be challenging in the art field so after graduation he followed his other interest, medicine and went to school to get his Physician Assistant degree.
In 1983 Keith became the first Physician Assistant at St. Mary Medical Center, but his passion for art never wavered. He experimented with pottery but wanted more, so he decided 10 years ago to enroll in the Bucks County Community College Fine Arts program. There, he learned the technique of glass blowing and fell in love with the art form. For the past decade Keith has used the school’s facilities to mold and manipulate molten glass to create works of art and function. He works with other students and acts as a mentor.
“What I enjoy about the program is the students come from all different backgrounds and professions. We all are artists at heart and at the college we are able to express our creative side in a supportive environment.” Keith and the other adult students act as mentors to the younger students who will matriculate to a four year art school. Some come back to lecture & demo their expertise to new students each semester.
Soon friends started to ask Keith for the bowls, vases and ornaments he made so he began to sell his creations in the Bucks County Coffee House during the month of December as the Artist in Residence.
Then he got a great idea – start selling to colleagues at St. Mary and donated the proceeds back to the hospital. It was a win-win for Keith. He gets to support St. Mary and he enjoys sharing his art. Plus he is able to engage the doctors, nurses and support staff in a good old fashioned bidding war for his wares. This is the 7th year Keith has auctioned off his items. It has turned into a two day event full of chaotic fun, as colleagues jockey for position to secure the item of their choice. Most important to Keith is the result of the sale —supporting the Community Ministries in Bensalem. “I feel so blessed and I wanted to help families in our area who are not so lucky. The proceeds from this sale go towards a family’s pursuit of self sufficiency. I also wanted to enlist the help of my colleagues in supporting a family in our community.” So keep a look out for Keith’s next sale in December, it promises to be bigger and better each year with new creative twists.