Those words, spoken by Susan Sebastian to her mother during one of her many lengthy hospital stays, brought about the Susan Sebastian Foundation. After Susan’s death in April 2009, Elise Braun decided to honor the memory of her daughter by providing art for patient rooms in Vermont hospitals.The art chosen, all created by Vermont artists, is intended to transport the patient beyond the hospital walls that confine them.
Elise Braun and Gilbert Myers, the Susan Sebastian Foundation grant administrator, used the book Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being by Dr. Esther Sternberg to help define the parameters for purchasing the art. Each piece is meant to take the patient out of the room and into the outdoors. “It gets you thinking about getting out,” says Braun.
“It makes you feel like you want to get better.” Myers explained that the art “represents Vermont’s natural beauty and scenes that patients might recognize. It is intended to cheer them up.”
UVM Health Network - Central Vermont Medical Center will receive 38 works of art from the Susan Sebastian Foundation to hang on the walls of 2 North and South and the Women and Children’s Unit.
The estimated combined value of the diverse portfolio of artwork is about $20,000 and features work by celebrated Vermont artists Kathleen Kolb, Daryl Storrs, Sabra Field, Ed Epstein, Woody Jackson, Harald Aksdal, Jennine Lunn, Annalein Beukenkamp, Rory Jackson, John Snell, Lynn DuMoulin, Deb Holmes, and Ken Leslie. Their mediums include pastels, oil on paper, prints and watercolors.
The foundation’s purchases not only brighten the walls and lives of our patients and employees it has provided an economic boost for local artists as well.
This philanthropic endeavor by the Susan Sebastian Foundation (Williston) is undertaken quietly and without any requests for donations. “Our goal is to share with every hospital in Vermont,” Myers said.
The CVMC Susan Sebastian collection will be exhibited in the CVMC Art Gallery from July 22 through August 21.