ART FOR THE PEOPLE- ART IN HOSPITALS

New Project, Marthas Vineyard Art Collection

ART FOR THE PEOPLE- ART IN HOSPITALS

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s Permanent Collection 


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Preliminary sketch for a custom pedestal and case for a Stella Waitzkin book sculpture.

Last week, we were approached by a lovely couple who were looking to build an enclosed pedestal and mount for a cast-resin sculpture titled Wedding Book by the late artist, Stella Waitzkin. Assisting collectors in building conservational and practical means of displaying their acquisitions is something we have specialized in since we opened our doors, however, this particular circumstance was something very special.

The couple that came to visit us here in Brooklyn was Edward F. Miller and Monina von Opel, of Martha’s Vineyard. This sculpture is not destined for this family’s own private collection, quite the contrary. Mr. Miller is the Vice Chairman of the board of Trustees at Martha’s Vineyard hospital, the only hospital in Dukes County. For the past three years, Mr. Miller and his wife have dedicated themselves to advancing the hospital’s permanent collection. Placing art in hospitals has been a hot topic as of late, and recent articles by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal have shown a significant increase in awareness of the health benefits art can have on not only the patients, but on their families and caregivers as well. Transforming the traditionally sterile and industrial environment of a hospital can help people heal, as recent scientific research has suggested. So, while this is not necessarily a new concept, the model set in place by Mr. Miller and his colleagues is certainly something to be admired.

Photo: Edward Miller and Monina von Opel, husband and wife team and public faces of the collection. (Photo Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine)

Photo: Edward Miller and Monina von Opel
(Photo Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine)

This is not art for art’s sake, this collection has been developed and polished with the Hospital’s patients, families, employees, and location in mind. While the collection does not include any million-dollar listings, the Hospital has catalogued over 350 works of art that have all been donated to the institution. That’s right. The Hospital is not reallocating resources for acquisitions that should go towards providing the highest quality of healthcare to its community. In fact, not only is the artwork donated, but you’ll often find Mr. Miller and Mrs. Opel hanging and lighting the artwork themselves in the hallways of the Hospital.

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Photo: The hallways of the Hospital are lined with over 350 pieces that are in some way associated with the Vineyard. (Photo Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine)

Having recently undergone a multi-million dollar building renovation, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital had allocated a small budget to purchase and hang some nondescript poster art that you could find in any hospital in any city of the country. But that wasn’t good enough for Mr. Miller and his companions. He wanted the art on the walls to be able to reflect what was happening outside of the walls. In an article for the Martha’s Vineyard Times, Mr. Miller was quoted :

“The hospital’s architects offered us art, but it was all generic. You could be anywhere. And we wanted you to know you were on the Vineyard. We have so many creative people on the Island, we thought it would be a fantastic thing to bring that creativity into what would otherwise be very institutional.”

Martha’s Vineyard is a place that is bursting with creativity, so why not take advantage of that fact and pay tribute to those who call the Vineyard their home and provide respite for those looking for just a glimpse outside the hospital walls. Catalogued and labeled as any proper collection should be; visitors, patients, staff members, and even the general public can be found at any time during the day wandering the hallways of the Hospital admiring the work.

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Photo: “Moonrise/Summer,” oil on linen by Kib Bramhall, outside the intensive care unit waiting room.” Photo by Susan Safford (Photo Courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Times)

New Project firmly believes in the power of art to evoke emotion, tell a story, engage, and challenge the viewer. Above all though, we believe in arts ability to help heal. If a piece of art can offer someone a moment of peace, encourage someone to get up out of a bed, or provide an escape from a stressful environment, then it is doing its job.

There is a screening process for all donations, and of course they cannot accept every piece into the collection. Visit the Hospital’s website for more information and to view the extensive collection.

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