We are very excited to have Dr. Dexter’s support and recently had the chance to ask him some questions about his passion and support for the arts.
I have always held an immense respect for artists and their works. I knew from a young age that I wanted to become a dentist, but I also had a strong underlying desire to satisfy my artistic interests.
How did you begin the process of incorporating community art, art collection, and healing art into your practice?
It was an early interest of mine to show art in my dental practice in Eugene, Oregon. I used the model developed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago that combines the three components – community art, art collection and healing art. When I built my new office, I designed it so that I could implement this Art Program and allow the art to have more than just an aesthetic value.
What have been some positive tangible outcomes you have witnessed since integrating art into your dental practice?
I have seen a synergistic relationship between the arts and community as a result of the shows and artist receptions that I have hosted. Since art can sometimes be an isolated process, the shows have introduced many artists to each other and to the community. I have seen several collaborations that resulted from these connections. Apart from that my patients have enjoyed and are appreciative of the changing art exhibits.
What recommendations do you have for other local businesses that want to support the arts in Eugene?
Starbucks has referred to itself as the third place for people; that people have work, home and Starbucks. Applying this concept to art, I believe that local businesses are the third place for art. Art should have galleries, coffee shops and local businesses. It’s a naturally existing relationship for businesses to support the community by supporting the arts.
You have generously sponsored our upcoming 8th Annual Beats and Brushstrokes Fundraiser on Saturday, April 22nd. The theme of this year’s event is #MakeYourMark and we are asking participants to consider the mark they are making on our planet. We are very excited to be working with artists who focus on using recycled and sustainable materials in their work, as well as artists who raise awareness of issues that are affecting our planet. Similar to our fundraiser’s theme and featured artists, you make a point to use environmentally healthy and sustainable materials in your dental practice. Can you describe why you think this is important and how you do this?
There’s substance to the cliché that one should leave this world a little better than you found it. The standard practice of dentistry leaves a very large footprint when you consider the amount of material that goes into producing a very small product. With this in mind, I felt that I needed to look at the best practices to reduce my footprint and not just follow the standard operating practices of my profession. This resulted in a survey of my dental practice and required that I think outside the box to improve on what I do. I changed what could be changed and redoubled my efforts to providing long-lasting treatment to reduce the material burden of more frequently replaced short-term treatments.
The Emerging Leaders in the Arts Network’s mission is to cultivate leadership, dialogue, and engagement within the arts and culture community of Eugene. From your perspective, what opportunities in the community do you see for future arts leaders?
As a health care provider I feel like there will be a greater number of opportunities as more providers become aware of the benefits provided by incorporating healing art into their practice. Hopefully this awareness will encourage providers and artists to reach out to each other and develop a symbiotic relationship that benefits the community.
I have heard you have some upcoming arts projects in the works. Could you share with us more details about these projects and what they involve?
In 2016 I personally organized Eugene: From Holga With Love, a successful community photography project benefitting local charities. It involved 21 community members shooting a roll of film using a medium format Holga camera; photos from each photographer were sold by silent auction with all proceeds going to five local charity organizations. This year I hope to follow up with Springfield: From Holga With Love.
Keep an eye out for future announcements and projects on Dr. Dexter’s Facebook page.
Donald R. Dexter, Jr., DMD
General Dentistry / Dental Sleep Medicine
2233 Willamette Street, Suite B
Eugene, OR 97405
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