Artists in the Basement

headshots of two men and two women

NLM’s Artists in the Basement

Meet NLM’s artists in the basement.

They defy expectations.

The artist you’ll meet tomorrow hasn’t picked up a pencil since she started working at NLM.

On Wednesday, you’ll hear about an artist who gave up a career that most people wouldn’t walk away from.

Thursday’s artist never would have considered a career in medical arts if he hadn’t seen a poster in college.

But the acting chief of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications’ Audiovisual Program Development Branch knew that a career in medical arts was for her when she was 16. You’ll hear from her on Friday.

“A fundamental principle of medical illustration is to draw what can’t be seen, watch what’s never been done, and tell thousands about it without saying a word,” says Altemus, quoting literature from the Association of Medical Illustrators. “This is precisely what makes our field so incredibly exciting and interesting.”

This week, we’re featuring the artists in the basement.

“Some people are surprised to learn there are medical artists in the Library,” says Anne Altemus, acting chief of the branch. “But it actually makes sense. The Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications is unique in many respects, not the least of which is the inclusion of visual communications as part of its mission. As artists, we contribute visual problem-solving skills to ongoing research and development projects throughout LHNCBC and the NLM.”

And why do the artists work in the basement? That’s where there was room.

Do you need proof that a picture is worth a 1,000 words? Click on the images below. Then check back every day this week for more amazing images and short stories about the artists who work in the basement.


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  1. Pingback: “Ask Me About My Awesome Job at NIH” | NLM in Focus

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