HealthWise: Using artwork to assist in patient recovery

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Ever since its new location opened in 2011, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has been using art to help its patients recover. The hospital is looking for more local artists to contribute works to its rotating art displays.

"There's a lot of research that shows that art can really help to reduce stress for patients," said Alexa Osborne, the hospital's manager of customer operations.

Osborne is also in charge of making sure there are new paintings to display. The rotating displays change every two months, and the hospital is seeking submissions from local artists. A committee decides which paintings or photographs to put on the walls.

"We really want to ensure that it's appropriate for a hospital setting," Osborne said. "It's healing, it's calming. It has that tranquil essence to it."

She especially enjoys the paintings on display right now from Priscilla Whitlock.

"They're very vibrant and bright and exciting," Osborne said. "The scenery that's included is also calming."

"Every caregiver here at Sentara has their own favorite piece of artwork," said Clinical Nurse Manager Jenny Hughes, who has a particular fondness for a hand-stitched quilt near the elevator.

Hughes says she often uses the hospital's works of art to encourage her patients.

"If they're having a bad experience, we can walk them down the hall and show them the artwork," she said.

They even use the paintings as benchmarks for patients who are working to get back on their feet after treatment.

"Every ten feet, we have a different piece of artwork," Hughes said, so they can challenge the patients to pass as many paintings as they can.

Artists who would like their paintings displayed can email Osborne at

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