New Falmouth medical practice showcases local artists

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FALMOUTH — As a recent addition to the town’s medical community, Dr. Karen Roberts said a goal of her new practice at 66 Leighton Road is to build community.

To that end, the osteopathic specialist is inviting local artists to exhibit their work on her office walls and inviting the community-supported agriculture program at Mulberry Farms to set up in her parking lot once a week.

Mulberry Farms grows root vegetables, berries and a variety of greens. The Raymond farm is certified by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and pick-up is offered on Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m., from late May to early September.

Roberts purchased the medical office building earlier this year. She shares it with other practitioners, including Lotus Family Practice, which is owned and operated by Dr. Catherine Krouse, who provides care on a membership basis and doesn’t take insurance.

Along with her passion for building community, Roberts and her wife, Mindy Schwartz, are also ardent environmentalists, so it was important to them that the space be environmentally friendly.

Schwartz, who is the building manager, is in the process of replacing all the lighting with LEDs, both inside and out. She’s also made other changes that led to the medical office being Energy Star rated.

Roberts and Schwartz, who live on the Windham side of Highland Lake, said they purchased the office building because of its convenience and because of the infrastructure improvements the town is planning along Route 100.

In addition, Roberts said, the building just spoke to her with its big, bright rooms and its location just off the Maine Turnpike.

In the rush to get the offices ready, Roberts said she and Schwartz stopped one day and asked, “What are we going to do with all this empty wall space?”

That’s when Roberts had the idea of inviting photographers from her amateur, online photography group to hang their work.

The theme for the first exhibit, which runs through the end of May, is health. “Most people in the group were really very willing and honored to make their pictures public. Their ‘health’ photos really run the spectrum of what that means,” Roberts said.

One of the photos shows a woman in a yoga pose on a mountain top, while others show landscapes and one depicts Roberts and her beloved dogs out on a walk.

What’s been great, Roberts said, is the interest the patients have shown in the photographs. “It’s been really incredible to see how some patients come through and really take the time to look at each photo,” she said.

What Roberts also likes is that several of the photos depict patterns that reflect “the foundation of what we do in osteopathy. They really connect to the philosophy and practice of osteopathy.”

Both Roberts and Schwartz have favorite photographs, including one by Dan Burke that shows colorful leaves reflected by water.

“It’s very colorful, very pleasing and very calming,” Roberts said. “What I like is that you really have to take your time to figure out just what you’re looking at.”

Schwartz also said that “all of the (photos) are awesome in their own way.” And Roberts said, they give life to the office, which is “very important in terms of patient care.”

“This exhibit has really exceeded our expectations,” she added. “It’s not only warmed our hearts, but it’s been great watching patients come through. The experience is radically different than just buying something (commercial) to put on our walls.”

The goal with future exhibits is to “propel new or emerging artists” into the spotlight, according to Schwartz.

The art is not currently on view to the general public, but Roberts said they may start holding artist reception or open houses.

“What we want to do is use this building to showcase our values,” Schwartz said. “This has all been radically new to us, but it’s also been a lot of fun.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Dr. Karen Roberts, an osteopathic specialist with a new office in Falmouth, has filled the walls of her practice with photos by local artists.