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Erica Harney donates large-scale works

In college, Erica Harney was told by a professor to paint large when it came to doing art.

She took the advice literally.

This past week, Harney donated three 9-foot paintings to hospitals around the region, including the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, Vt., and the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

The paintings, done while Harney was in college, were "doing nothing but taking up space in her father's basements."

She has been in contact with 25 to 30 regional hospitals to find homes for the five paintings.

"This way, they can be displayed and be enjoyed, because what good is art if nobody sees it?" said Harney.

Harney, who grew up in Clifton Park, said she was born to be an artist.

"Legend has it that when my parents put me in a highchair with crayons, I would just amuse myself for hours coloring. In elementary school and all throughout high school, I was the artistic kid." said Harney. "It was always kind of a given that I was going to go to art school."

Harney attended Alfred State University, majoring in painting and minoring in art history. She graduated magna cum laude in 2006, and spent time in a study abroad program at the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy.

"There's really no better place I can think of to study art" said Harney. "It was life-changing in a personal and professional way."

After graduation, Harney returned to Saratoga Springs to teach classes at Skidmore College, as well as work at the campus's Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery as an Installation Assistant/Art Handler and Gallery Associate. She considers the return home a way to take some time off from college and get some field experience.

"This was the area where I had the flexibility to have a day job as well as the freedom to get to work, and so I paint every day in the studio. Being at the Tang is a really good learning opportunity for me being in that field."

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