The talent of a local artist has resulted in an anniversary work of art that embodies the past, present and future of St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale.

The large watercolor, called 'The healing tree,' was unveiled Monday afternoon in the hospital board room where artist Jacquie Shafer of Tamaqua was on hand to explain the symbolism embodied in the work and respond to questions.

"The tree has 100 St. Luke's stars that are blooming," said Shafer, each star denoting one year in the century of tradition of the Panther Valley regional medical facility.

The painting also features images of a doctor, nurse, candy striper, ambulance and discreetly embedded symbols of the anniversary, such as the year '1910' and '100'.

In designing and creating the painting, Shafer worked from a photo she took of the hospital and paired that image with an old photo of the first Coaldale Hospital. She then added embellishments that celebrate the facility's rich heritage.

"My daughter-in-law, who's also an artist, suggested I add a miner at the base of the tree," said Shafer, who's been painting since her high school days.

'The healing tree' was created using watercolor, however, Shafer relied on a technique which uses relatively dry brush strokes to achieve rich texture and detail. The style might best be described as realism somewhat similar to that of the great American realist Andrew Wyeth.

Shafer is married to Tamaqua pharmacist Lee Shafer. The Shafer family has a long tradition of supporting the arts in the greater Tamaqua area.

Jacquie Shafer has been a member of St. Luke's Black Diamond Celebration planning committee since its inception three years ago.

The painting will be chanced off, with the winner to be announced at the third annual Black Diamond Celebration to take place March 13 at Penn's Peak, Jim Thorpe. The public is encouraged to attend and casual dress is acceptable.

Since only one person will be lucky enough to win the artwork, the hospital worked with TN Printing, Lehighton, to produce 100 limited edition prints that will be offered for sale. According to Micah Gursky, St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital director of development, the idea of chancing off the original painting and selling an additional 100 prints will complement the fundraising efforts to take place this year.

Andrea Visnosky, St. Luke's Miners director of marketing and public relations, said the hospital will have an ambitious year ahead.

"Our 100th anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year. We'll have community events taking place and other special activities. Our theme will be '100 Years of Caring'".

More information about the painting, the limited edition prints, and the March 13 dinner are available by calling Gursky at (570) 645-8118.