Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Words and Pictures

The effect in sickness of beautiful objects, of variety of objects, and especially of brilliancy of color is hardly at all appreciated.

After a five-year effort, the Susan Sebastian Foundation has just completed the permanent installation of original artworks in every inpatient room in Vermont's 14 hospitals.

The project resulted from ideas expressed in Dr. Esther Sternberg's Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being.

Citing research, the book argues that art activates endorphin-rich parts of patients' brains, speeding their recovery.

The nonprofit's founders read Sternberg's book and tackled the project in memory of a long-suffering patient, Susan Sebastian, whose last wish was, “When I get out of here, I am going to sell my house to buy art for hospital patient rooms.”

Sternberg, a pioneer in the science of the mind-body connection, is floored.

"When you write a book, you never know the impact it will have, and to see my words made into reality on this scale is tremendously fulfilling," she says.

Esther Sternberg is a friend of mine, and I can recall vividly the manuscript pages of Healing Spaces stacked on her writing desk. Who knew all those words would matter six years later?

Pictures have power; words do, too.

We're so awash in both, that's easy to forget.

It takes activists like the folks at the Susan Sebastian Foundation to remind us.

HAT TIP: Edward Segal pointed me to this story.
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