Home to the East Texas Baptist University School of Nursing, the Marshall Grand now houses an art gallery inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37.
Through the generosity of ETBU alumna Rita Bryan Turner (’48), artist Melinda Marlowe of Cimarron, New Mexico, was commissioned to create replicas of famous renditions of Jesus’ biblical parable to display in the new Good Samaritan Gallery in the historic downtown district of Marshall.
Symbolic to the calling of a servant-hearted, Christian nurse, the Good Samaritan story was selected to encourage nursing students and art patrons to consider following Jesus’ example of serving others in great need.
“I discovered hundreds of depictions of this story from across the centuries,” Marlowe shared. “All of the works attempted to underscore the beauty of one human being helping another as others look away.
As I typically paint landscapes and wildlife, this was an exciting and unique task,” the artist added. “Each painting took no less than four or five full workdays to produce. Each held its own challenges, because the styles of painting are as varied as the artists that accomplished the work.
“I was completely absorbed by this task, and many of the pieces seemed to paint themselves. This was a fabulous experience from beginning to end, and I am truly humbled by these renowned artists.”
The art collection of nine pieces for the exhibit features works by Vincent Van Gogh, Eugene Delacroix and Jean-Francios Millet, among others, spanning centuries of art history, style and technique.
The gallery also includes an original work by Marlowe, titled The ETBU Good Samaritan. The painting depicts a female ETBU nursing student helping an elderly woman while others pass by. Marlowe’s creation serves as a powerful reminder that anyone can be a Good Samaritan by caring for their neighbor.
“I loved seeing the excitement on Melinda’s face as she guided us through the journey of her artwork,” Dr. Turner said. “I am especially impressed by her original painting, because many Good Samaritan renditions represent men, and I’m glad she created one featuring a woman helping another woman.
“Each piece in the gallery is charming in its own way, and Melinda delivered the artwork beautifully. I hope this will become a destination for art lovers, students and community members, where everyone can enjoy not only the lovely works, but also the message they share.”
The gallery also includes portrayals of Florence Nightingale, known as the “Mother of Nursing,” derived from the works of British photographer Henry Hering and 19th-century artist J. Butterworth.
For over 100 years, Nightingale has encouraged nursing students through her health care during the Civil War to treat soldiers with dignity.
“Florence Nightingale is an icon of care and devotion to others,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn explained. “The goal of East Texas Baptist is to educate and equip individuals, who reflect the servant leadership of the Good Samaritan, and the Nursing program strives to impart the spirit and dedication of Nightingale to our students, who take on the role of helping and healing.
“This display of art is designed to honor both Christ’s Gospel message and the intent of Nightingale,” Blackburn said. “Melinda Marlowe achieved our vision for the inspirational collection. Marlowe’s works are thoroughly appropriate for this space, and we are grateful for our beloved alumna Rita Turner, whose generous contribution enabled us to present this beautiful and unique display in ETBU’s School of Nursing to our students and the community.”
The Marshall Grand was donated to East Texas Baptist University in 2013 for the advancement of Christ-centered education and the benefit of the local community and East Texas region.
Five out of the eight floors of the facility were renovated with the goal of expanding the ETBU Nursing program and providing a 21st-century health care training center.
Historically known as the Hotel Marshall, the facility opened as the new home of the ETBU School of Nursing in May of this year, and classes will begin in August.