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Revolutionary Healing through Student Artwork

March 7th, 2016

"Thanks to the creativity of the students and Ms. Shanian, revolutionary healing is ever more present at the medical center," said Director of Community Relations Heather Reynolds. 

In 2014, St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center collaborated with students at Smithtown High School East to create visual artwork to reflect hope and healing for patients, visitors and staff. This idea of using art to help the spirit heal has been so well received, which initiated further collaboration with local student artists to once again help fill blank walls at the medical center.

St. Catherine’s Director of Community Relations Heather Reynolds and Smithtown High School East Art Teacher/Instructional Specialist Dianne Shanian worked with students to produce artwork for two areas on the medical campus, including the hospital’s Intensive Care/Critical Care Units (ICU/CCU) and a special area that connects the Hospital to the Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center. A special ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, with hospital administration, staff, visitors, students and their parents.

St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center’s campus includes a Hospital, Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center, and a three-story medical office building. For enhanced accessibility from the three separate entities on the campus, there is a tunnel that connects the Hospital to the Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center.The hospital is connected to the medical office building.

Photo Caption: Smithtown High School East Art Teacher/Instructional Specialist Dianne Shanian cuts the ribbon at the ceremony for the tunnel connecting the Hospital and the Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center.

The first phase of the ribbon cutting started in the tunnel. “The hospital and rehab care center has been connected since it open 25 years ago—and for 25 years the walk through the tunnel has been quite cold, lacking artwork,” said St. Catherine’s Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center Administrator John Chowske, “Day in and day out, we have patients traveling back and forth from the hospital to the nursing and rehab center—so we are thankful to the students for their creativity.” He continued, “They took a cold and blank tunnel beyond my imagination, and the entire nursing and rehab care center is very thankful.”

The students decided on a Healing Revolution theme for the tunnel. The exposed pipes beckoned at the industrial revolution which drew the connection to a sense of revolutionary healing that occurs at the medical center daily. Smithtown High School East Art Teacher/Instructional Specialist Dianne Shanian thanked St. Catherine’s Administration for inviting the students to place artwork, “filling the walls with artwork makes people happy, and that should not be minimized.”

The second phase of the ribbon cutting took place at ICU/CCU. These units, renovated in 2012, located down the hall from the Emergency Department and Cardiac Catheterization Labs, were modernized to offer patients more privacy with state-of-the-art equipment. However, there was one area that still needed “something”. According to Nursing Manager Lisa Koshansky, “people walked pass the units, unaware of the specialized care being facilitated through the doors of ICU and CCU. Now, the art brings hope and a sense of healing.” She continued, “Each work of art affects people in different ways—it is very much appreciated.”

Photo Caption: Student Chris Saracino cuts the ribbon at the ceremony for ICU/CCU.

In addition to the artwork along the walls of ICU/CCU, students also created several pieces for the ICU/CCU family waiting room, using Georgia O’Keefe’s bold and innovative inspiration.

St. Catherine’s Executive Vice President/CAO Paul J. Rowland also thanked the students, high school faculty and parents for their contributions to the medical center. He also explained that the “artwork will complement the future build for the healing environment that we have planned for the acute care areas.” The medical center will add a Serenity Plaza, which will be a dedicated place where patients, family members, staff can go to reflect, meditate or pray. The Foundation Office is actively seeking donations for this specialized area, for more information, please call (631) 862-3832.

The medical center will mark 50 years in the community on September 16, 2016. The Department of Public Affairs is currently planning celebratory events that will be open to the community. For more information, please contact (631) 862-3523.

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