Healing Through Art

Waterbury Woman Donates Vermont Paintings, Photos to Gifford in Daughter’s Memory

Gifford Medical Center

Elise Braun poses by just two of 25 pieces of framed Vermont art donated in her daughter’s memory to Gifford Medical Center.

RANDOLPH – Octogenarians Elise Braun of Waterbury and Gilbert Myers of Williston on Friday hand-delivered 25 pieces of artwork to 25-bed Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.

The framed art is by 13 different Vermont painters and photographers and is a gift from the Susan Sebastian Foundation to Gifford for its patient rooms.

The foundation is named for Braun’s daughter who passed away in 2009 and had a wish to brighten hospital rooms through local art.

The art given to Gifford holds a common look and feel. Each piece depicts Vermont’s warm weather months – spring, summer and fall – and is of the outdoors.

Braun and Myers used the book Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being by Dr. Esther Sternberg to help guide their purchases, which are meant to take the patient out of the room and into the outdoors to a favorite vista or recreational hobby.

“It gets you out of the room and gets you thinking about getting out,” says Braun. “It makes you feel like you want to get better.”

For Gifford, which helped pick out the pieces and invited many local artists to participate, the artwork is a welcome addition to patient care and the patient experience.

“This is truly an extension of Gifford’s commitment to support local – as this gift allows us to showcase our local talent while bringing warmth to our patients,” says Ashley Lincoln, Gifford director of development and public relations. “We are thankful to the Susan Sebastian Foundation for including Gifford in its outreach and appreciate the amount of work and effort that goes into a gift like this.”

For Braun, the foundation’s work is healing.

“It has been very therapeutic for me, extremely therapeutic. It makes me feel she (Sebastian) is at work in the world and that makes me happy.

“This is Susan. This is what she was about,” Braun says.

Sebastian’s good work continues.

In addition to Gifford, Fletcher Allen Health Care received 47 pieces from the foundation in 2009, Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans received 37 pieces, 12 pieces then went to Grace Cottage Hospital in Townshend and 38 to Porter Medical Center in Middlebury.

Next will be Copley Hospital in Morrisville. Myers and Braun’s goal is to provide local art to all Vermont hospitals over the next several years.

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