Painting donated by patient-artist installed near MMG offices Share This OHSU Content

April 23, 2013


OHSU has many stunning works of art throughout its public areas, but one recent addition comes with its own special tale.

“Change of Seasons” is located in the corridor just outside the Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics (MMG) on the fourth floor of Richard Jones Hall. It’s an acrylic painting by Jennifer Kapnek.

Kapnek, a Portland-based fine artist who specializes in tree forms and who heads up Portland’s Urban Art Network, is also an OHSU patient. She has a rare genetic disorder, carnitine palmitoylstransferase 2 (CPT2) deficiency, and is cared for by a clinical team led by Cary Harding, M.D., associate professor of molecular and medical genetics.

Kapnek also participates in a clinical study on fatty acid oxidation led by Melanie Gillingham, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular and medical genetics. The clinical trial is investigating a novel nutritional supplement, Triheptanoin or odd-chain fatty acid triglyceride, to prevent or mitigate the muscle pain and rhabdomyolysis that occurs among patients with CPT2 deficiency.

The story of how the painting came to campus begins with a chance encounter. One day, OHSU dietitian Susan Filkins, M.S., R.D., L.D., a member of Kapnek’s care team, and her husband were visiting a local art show. They stopped to admire paintings at a booth – Kapnek’s paintings. Kapnek recognized Filkins, and they fell into conversation. Kapnek said she’d like to donate one of her paintings to OHSU. “I wanted to give something to OHSU because I’ve received excellent care there,” Kapnek said.

Filkins and Dr. Gillingham passed along Kapnek’s wish to the OHSU Foundation, and the donation was approved by the Marquam Hill Art Committee. Kapnek’s relationship with MMG made the decision to place “Change of Seasons” within department hallways an easy one.

On April 11, the department dedicated the painting at an event attended by Kapnek and her boyfriend, Terry Eidsmoe.

“The painting was placed for its impact on our work lives,” said Susan Hayflick, M.D., chair and professor of molecular and medical genetics. “We wanted to brighten the space between offices and labs, a path we travel many times each day. It brings color and life and inspires us in our work on behalf of people with rare disorders.”

She added, “We are geneticists, and this painting speaks to us because it conjures family trees and genetic connections. We couldn’t be happier. Thank you.”

Take a stroll to see the new painting!

See more of Kapnek’s art and that of other Urban Art Network members at First Thursday Street Gallery in the Pearl District.