A Loving Testimony: ‘The Healing Power of Art’

A Loving Testimony: ‘The Healing Power of Art’

A Loving Testimony: ‘The Healing Power of Art’


Detail, ‘Sunny Summer Day’ by Ann McFarren, one of the serene works to be featured at SVHC’s ‘The Healing Power of Art’ exhibit at SVAC.

The Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) will present an exhibit of more than 100 works by Vermont artists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, at the Arkell Pavilion on the campus of the Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC) in Manchester. Fifty-four pieces will be selected from this exhibit and purchased by the Susan Sebastian Foundation for SVMC’s inpatient rooms. The remaining work will be offered to the public for sale.

“We are grateful for the generosity and inspired vision of the Susan Sebastian Foundation,” said Leslie Keefe, vice president for corporate development, SVHC. “This gift of art will make a tremendously positive impact for patients and their families.”

The Foundation was created to honor Susan Sebastian, who endured a long illness looking
at bare walls in hospital rooms. It was her wish that every hospital room in Vermont be hung with
gentle, inspiring art by local artists, and since her death in 2009, her mother Elise Braun has worked to fulfill her daughter’s wish. The Foundation has provided art for permanent display in the patient rooms of every Vermont hospital, with their gift to SVHC completing the mission.

In conjunction with the exhibit, SVHC will host the nation’s leading researcher on the science of place and wellbeing, Dr. Esther Sternberg. She will present a talk titled, ‘Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being,’ at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, at the Arkell Pavilion. Sternberg is internationally recognized for her discoveries in brain-immune interactions and the effects of the brain’s stress response on health. She is founding director of the University of Arizona Institute on Place and Wellbeing and professor of medicine and research director at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona at Tucson; she has authored more than 200 scholarly articles and two popular books.

“Dr. Sternberg’s work has had such a profound impact on the mission of the Susan Sebastian Foundation, on the patient experience in hospitals all over the country, and on how we, as a culture, envision healing environments,” Keefe said. “I hope that everyone with an interest in art and healing will attend this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Both the exhibit and Dr. Sternberg’s talk are free and open to the public. Space for the talk is limited and reservations are strongly encouraged. Those interested in attending should reserve a seat at svhealthcare.org/healingpower.


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