OSF HealthCare Saint Clare Medical Center was gifted an original work of art by the family of the late artist, Betty Jewel “B.J.” Wagner. Her last original painting, “Noah’s Ark,” is displayed on the second floor of the Medical/Surgical Acute unit, across from the waiting room. The painting was unveiled on September 16 as family and friends of the artist gathered at the hospital.
A native of Bureau County, B.J. grew up on a farm in Dover. She loved art as a child, eventually finding her way to folk painting. Her children, Jill, Heidi, Patrick and John, wanted her art to grace the hallway at OSF Saint Clare in memory of the care she received at the OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home.
B.J. enjoyed a lifetime of creating art. Folk painting provided the freedom to use color as cheerful inspiration. She found joy in painting stories, creating her own style to tell those tales, like Noah’s Ark.
B.J.’s son, Patrick Mowbray, shared more about his mom and her last painting. “Mom was an artist. She would wake up, drink her coffee and paint. This painting was her last and detailed the animals gathering and resting, like her end of life.” Family and friends were delighted that her art would provide comfort to patients at OSF Saint Clare.