Willamette Dental Group launched their cultural arts initiative on March 28 at the company’s headquarters in Hillsboro. Dr. Eugene Skourtes, CEO of the company, and his wife, Bonnie, hosted about 60 guests where they unveiled the painting, “The Back of the Neck” by Jean-Michel Basquiat, an American artist and early pioneer of the neo-expressionist movement.
The cultural arts initiative hails from the Skourtes’ desire to enhance the artistic and cultural experience for employees and patients in the communities they serve. They both find great joy in sharing their passion for the arts and enjoy creating opportunities for others to appreciate it as they do.
“It’s more than being just a dentist and practicing dentistry, it’s also participating in our community,” said Skourtes. “Since Bonnie and I like art, I want to give the opportunity for our employees to be able to go to the museum and hopefully get inspired.”
Skourtes and his team have already taken several steps in their quest to create a unique cultural experience for patients and employees. As the company undergoes expansion and renovation efforts, original black and white photography will be installed as the offices are remodeled and updated. The photos are specific to the local area and surrounding region of each office and serve as a reminder of the ties the company shares with the communities it serves.
The evening also marked the beginning of Willamette Dental Group’s support for the Portland Art Museum (PAM) as a corporate member. The company’s patron membership with PAM not only helps the museum connect the community to art, but also allows Willamette Dental Group employees to experience art through events, free admission, and access to lectures and tours, as well as opportunities to host events and meetings at the museum.
“We are delighted to have Willamette Dental Group join our group of prominent local companies supporting the Portland Art Museum,” said Karie Burch, the associate director of development for PAM. “Just as Willamette Dental Group’s work is essential to the physical health of our community, these civic-minded local business leaders recognize that the Museum is vital to our community’s cultural health.”
Stephanie Gibson, the operational associate to the chief of operations, said the cultural arts initiative is proof that Skourtes is committed to making Willamette Dental Group the provider of choice. She drew a parallel between the work dentists and their teams do every day as an art form and said they are artists whether they’re giving somebody a new smile or improving their oral health. And just like the new Basquiat work of art, what the dentists and their teams do is unique and powerful for patients.
“Art speaks to people whether it’s emotional or physical. I think Dr. Skourtes is trying to take his love of the art of dentistry and his love of the art world and marry those in a way that shows the community that we support them on multiple levels,” said Gibson.
The highlight of the evening was unveiling Basquiat’s, “The Back of the Neck.” The Skourtes have been drawn to Basquiat’s work for some time now and have graciously agreed to loan the work of art to Willamette Dental Group where it will be prominently displayed in the company’s main conference room.
“You can see the power of that piece of art and it reflects who we are,” said Skourtes. “You will not find that piece of art in a normal board room because it’s too impactful. In fact, it could be offensive to some people. It’s not safe. I like it because it’s not safe.”