Healing The Sick With Fine Art Nature Photography

People from all over the world enjoy and collect my work for their homes and businesses alike. Often I get to hear stories about the final placement of the pieces, how they are being shown or the original motivation or reasons behind the displays being built. Without a doubt, the stories I enjoy hearing most are of pieces being placed in a medical facility or hospital in an effort to beautify and create a therapeutic environment for the patients there. The journey to create these images is very therapeutic to me personally and to see this work come full circle, positively affecting the sick is a humbling and beautiful experience to be a part of.

Hospitals are often stressful, dark and dreary places to begin with offering little more visually than cream colored walls, highly polished floors and cold machinery to stare at while waiting to be treated. Coupled with the fact that those who visit these institutions are often sick and in pain or who have family members who are ill makes the entire situation unpleasant to say the least. Do patients that have nature photography and other forms of art to view during this difficult time actually heal any faster? Can a beautiful photograph reduce pain & anxiety?

More and more hospitals think so. And they're putting big money behind it, transforming what were once cold, sterile spaces into mini-museums and contemporary art destinations.

More than 40 percent of health care facilities in 2007 had arts programs, including musical performances, healing gardens and art classes, according to a 2009 report from Arts & Health Alliance, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit. And permanent, public art displays — such as paintings and murals — were the most prevalent. Hospital art has only grown in the last five years, said Leslie Faerstein, executive director of Arts & Health Alliance. She anticipates that the organization's 2015 study will find a significant increase in the number of health care facilities with art programs.

Our innate preference for a soothing painting or sunny park over a dark alley has a scientific basis. A 2011 University of London study found that blood flow increased 10 percent to the "joy response" part of the brain when subjects saw a beautiful painting — just like when you look at a loved one. The findings give credence to what we've always suspected, Faerstein said: that visual art has a strong, positive physiological effect on the brain.

In a hospital setting, Roger Ulrich's landmark 1984 research revealed that the view from a surgery patient's window influences recovery. Those who saw trees recuperated almost a full day faster and required fewer doses of pain medication than those facing a brick wall.

For every day a patient lies in a hospital bed, it takes roughly three days to achieve his or her previous level of functioning, according to Dr. Lisa Harris, an internist and chief executive of Eskenazi Health, affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine.

"If an art installation gets a patient out of his room or paintings take a person's mind off their pain and lower their stress levels, the art isn't just decorative anymore. It's part of the entire model of care," said Harris, who oversees a $1.5 million art program, funded entirely by philanthropic donors, that launched last December.

"Art for art's sake is not the answer," said Rosalyn Cama, a healthcare design practitioner and author of Evidence Based Design. "And art doesn't have to be terribly expensive. There are ways to reproduce local artists' works, who typically paint local scenes that trigger memories of a happier time creating a pause in a patient and family's current state of mind."

In summary, beautiful artwork can help, heal and provide an escape from an otherwise unfortunate and depressing situation providing a bit of escape when one is desperately needed. I strongly believe in this benefit and my ability to be a part of the process. I often provide corporate discounts to hospitals, medical facilities and dental facilities purchasing 5 or more pieces for their buildings. Often times these purchases are tax write offs for the business and a win/win for everyone involved. Early last year I was able to provide over 40 pieces of large scale, ready to hang limited edition artwork to a customer for their orthopedic surgery facility. For just over $25,000 they were able to display beautiful art across their entire building including every patient room.

For more information on the medical discounts that I offer please feel free to contact me via telephone or email 7 days a week.

This writing includes excepts of an article titled "The Healing Power of Art" by Jacoba Urist, an NBC News contributor, originally published September 23rd, 2014 and used here with permission. If you would like to follow more of Jacoba's reporting you can follow her twitter feed @JacobaUrist