Home Moorestown News Samaritan masters the ‘art of healing’

Samaritan masters the ‘art of healing’

A new exhibit on display at Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice is intended to soothe patients and their families going through a difficult time.

Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice’s new exhibit “Art of Healing” will run from June to October. The exhibit located in Voorhees features the work of three local South Jersey nature photographers: Larry A. Lyons of Woodbury, Joseph Perno of Moorestown and Patricia Worley of Medford Lakes.

At Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice in Voorhees, the well-lit hallways strewn with terrariums and homey bookcases lead to cozy rooms where oxygen and other health-care tools are carefully tucked away from sight. When the center opened in 2016, the goal was to create a hospice facility that didn’t feel sterile, according to Joanne Rosen, Samaritan’s vice president of marketing and public affairs.

“We wanted it to be a peaceful healing environment,” Rosen said.

In an effort to cultivate this serene ambiance, Samaritan has partnered with a trio of South Jersey nature photographers whose work will be displayed as part of the “Art of Healing” exhibit at the facility from June through Oct. 31 with a portion of the sales from the artists’ work benefitting Samaritan’s not-for-profit programs and services.

For Moorestown artist Joseph Perno, displaying his work at Samaritan is personal. In 2004, Perno’s sister was in Samaritan’s care before passing away, and ever since then, he wanted to give back to Samaritan in some way. When he heard they were building the Voorhees facility, he inquired about whether they were looking for pieces of art and learned they were interested in exhibiting artists’ work in the hallways. Perno said he was eager to contribute pieces for display and approached his friends Larry Lyons of Woodbury and Patricia Worley of Medford Lakes to display their work as well.

Rosen said art can provide patients and their families a temporary respite from the difficult situation of an advanced serious illness. She said when they had previously had a beach scene on display, family members would stop for a moment to look at the oil painting and say they could envision themselves there.

“It’s something to take them away a for a brief moment,” Rosen said.

Perno, a photographer of more than 25 years, said he wanted to contribute pieces that are soothing and gave observers a good feeling. He said he’s often heard positive feedback about his sunflower pieces and his photographs of his sunrises and sunsets.

“When I go out early in the morning to shoot a sunrise or sunset, for me personally, that’s when I find peace,” Perno said. “It’s such a peaceful, beautiful time.”

Worley said art is proven to be healing. As a nature photographer, Worley is showing flowers and other natural scenes at Samaritan.

“When we think about how we choose the images we’re going to display in a particular location, we think about who the viewer is going to be,” Worley said. “We knew it was going to be people who were in a difficult time in their lives, and they needed something that would be calming and helpful to their soul.”

Worley said she chose close-ups of flowers that have relaxing colors and simple designs. She said landscapes can transport people to a different location and make them feel like they’re there.

Lyons said he wanted to choose images that connect with people. A wildlife photographer, he chose images that had a nurturing element to them, such as egrets touching beaks.

“It’s just images that people will connect with and hopefully feel good about,” Lyons said.

Rosen said Samaritan is grateful these artists were willing to donate their work and a portion of their proceeds to the facility. She said as a nonprofit, donations are especially important and contribute to the funding of programs such as grief support services. Perno said he encourages people to come out and purchase a piece of art for themselves or donate it to Samaritan.

“They really do look after the patients, and they have true concern for the families,” Perno said. “They take that extra care.”

Members of the public who want to tour the work on display are encouraged to call Samaritan at (856) 335–4600 to schedule a visit. Rosen said her hope is the art connects new people with Samaritan so that if the time comes when they need to call them, they feel encouraged to do so.

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