Because of his busy family life and successful career as medical director of liver transplantation at UAB, Brendan McGuire, M.D., doesn’t get much time to hone his artistic skills. He draws occasionally with his children and makes time to illustrate the family Christmas card every year.
This year, he’s getting some recognition for his work.
McGuire’s 2006 Christmas card of his children with their grandparents’ train display – the “Millers’ Family Tradition of Trains” – is the faculty division winner in the eighth annual UAB School of Medicine Art Show.
“This particular card was inspired by the wonderful traditions that have been passed on to us by our parents,” McGuire says. “It seems that in the fast-paced world in which we live, we forget the importance of simple traditions. For 53 years, my in-laws have had a tradition of setting up a train display with their children. What started as one train under a tree has grown to a display that consumes a room in their basement.”
The family begins constructing the display just after Thanksgiving every year and finishes by Christmas morning. It stays up until February. What once was a tradition for his in-laws and their children now has expanded to include grandchildren, and it has inspired McGuire’s family to bring the tradition into their own home.
“In our home we set up a train with our children, too,” he says. “So, in this card, I really wanted to celebrate the importance of taking time for traditions.”
McGuire began illustrating his family’s Christmas card after marrying his wife Liz 13 years ago. His cards have highlighted everything from life as newlyweds and their first home to their sons and their activities.
The 13 original illustrations hang in McGuire’s home.
“Every Christmas card has been inspired by an event or some observation in our life,” McGuire says. “Some are funny, and others are sentimental.”
McGuire estimates his family sent up to 300 “Millers’ Family Tradition of Trains” cards to friends and family this past year. He says he wishes he has more time to draw, but says he’s happy illustrating the family Christmas card. He hopes it’s starting another tradition.
“I hope that perhaps our children, when married, will illustrate their own Christmas cards, too,” he says.
Michael Klein, M.D., was the second-place winner in the faculty division with a photomicrography called “Lumbar vertebra with osteoporosis demonstrating three healing trabecular fractures.” Alex Szalai, Ph.D., took third place with a photograph titled “Sunrise: Same Day.”
Among the residents, first place went to “Sacred,” a cast iron sculpture by Ben Stronach, M.D. Stronach also won second place with a sculpture called “Sacrums.”
The winning student entry is an acrylic self-portrait by Jon Miller, a first-year student. Also recognized as the Juror’s Choice is an oil painting from Maribel Salas, M.D., “Risk and Benefit.”
The School of Medicine 2008 Art Show had 37 submissions from faculty, residents and medical students.
The Alabama chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national honor society for medical school students and the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences presents the show. It runs through May 30 in the museum on the third floor of the Lister Hill Library.
The contest was judged by a panel of UAB faculty, staff and students. The top three winners receive cash prizes, and all entries are on display in the museum.