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The Art of Healing and Hope

December 5th, 2014

Artist and educator Richard Kamler said, "Art is our one true global language. It knows no nation, it favors no race, and it acknowledges no class. It speaks to our need to reveal, heal, and transform. It transcends our ordinary lives and lets us imagine what is possible." His summation of art and healing is present in the new Healing Gallery now at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center.

As a patient, visitor and even an experienced health care professional, at times being in the hospital is not easy—and there are times when everyone needs a moment of reflection for healing and hope. Thanks to the insightful student artists at Smithtown High School East and their Art Teacher/Instructional Specialist Dianne Shanian, 19 thoughtful art inspirations are now installed to offer healing and hope to viewers.

The local student artists responded to the invitation to create a visual response to the theme of “hope and healing” with the intent to hang the pieces on the wall for all to enjoy. In photo/media and introductory painting one classes, students were asked to think of images that reminded them of an experience they had, or a place they had been to that felt good, hopeful, and healing. In photo/media class, students in grades 9 through 12 took their own photographs, and altered them using the software program Photoshop to heighten the emotional impact of the artwork. Sometimes, students combined photographs to better represent their ideas. The electronic images were enlarged and transferred to beautiful translucent acrylic to ensure the vibrancy of the sea of colors.

Likewise, in painting one class, students studied the artwork of Romare Bearden, who was known for his photo and painting collage techniques. Evidence of his influence is seen in the students' application of various media. The student artists added further meaning to the paintings with written descriptions of the imagery in the artwork, and the meaning it holds for them, which is also on display at the hospital.

“The walls were very stark and bland, so I proposed we do something surrounded by the theme hope and healing,” said Dianne. “It is the hope of this installation to provide an uplifting visual display for all to respond to and enjoy.”

A special ribbon cutting was held on Thursday, December 4, 2014 with the student artists, parents, hospital and high school administration. The Healing Gallery includes 16 art installations and 3 paintings in a physician/patient consultation room. The Healing Gallery was sponsored by St. Catherine’s Medical Staff under the leadership of current President Mark Finger, MD and Smithtown High School East. “This is such a wonderful and inspiring collaboration with the Medical Center and Smithtown High School East—the installation looks wonderful,” Said Dr. Finger. He then encouraged the young students to keep up the good work.

Photo: Art Teacher/Instructional Specialist Dianne Shanian (center) cuts the ceremonial ribbon to the new Healing Gallery installation now on display at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, just off the main lobby. 

Emily Barry

Brianna Curtin

Tiana Flores

Brandon Gurba

James Knapp

Mason Lambrix

John Leto

Bryan McArdle

Lydsey Robinson

Julianna Schulz

Skye Schweit

Zack Silverberg

Emily Honan

Jamie Werner