Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Art of Healing

Premiere Oncology, a cancer treatment and research center in Santa Monica, California, has very recently taken a bold and exciting step to improve the care of its patients.

Michael David, Red Jackie (Sixth State)
Mixed media on aluminum
88 x 44 in.

The cutting edge, privatized facility has partnered with nearby Lowe Gallery to bring in over 30 paintings by contemporary artists to help realize the clinic's philosophy that healing comes through treating the body, mind and soul. The desire to join "comprehensive and holistic clinical care with the therapeutic components of emotionally charged, powerfully articulated works of art" has resulted in a tremendously well thought out and beautifully-curated installation.

Sabine Tress, Outside
Acrylic on canvas
51 x 55 in.

Curators from the gallery selected artworks with "a visceral, emotional quality with deep metaphysical yearnings that are articulated by process and imagery which is strongly psychospiritual in nature." The paintings function as much to the benefit of patients (a large, intricately detailed, mixed-media work by Andrew Saftel placed in the blood-draw area acts as a distraction from the needle) as they do for the nurses and doctors on staff, who readily express the positive change that has come over the clinic.

Andrew Saftel, Sun and Water
Acrylic and mixed media on panel
24 x 24 in.

The hope is that patients will connect with the works and give back by buying and donating them to the clinic. What doctors and curators probably could not foresee, was the effect that this project would have on all who enter the space, not just the patients. At a recent unveiling of the works, doctors from other practices could be heard talking about beginning similar projects. Good begets good. Its so easy.

Other artists exhibited include Ethel Lebenkoff, Dusty Griffith, Ton Schulter and Maggie Hasbrouck. Images shown here are from the collection at Lowe Gallery and are representative of the works on view at Premiere Oncology. For more information visit and

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