Maimonides Art Exhibition Provides Both Therapy & Culture

Muriel Fenner with with one of her many art pieces as part of the _Moments In Time_ Exhibition at Maimonides Medical Center

Maimonides Medical Center launched a new art exhibition this week entitled, “Moments In Time”, featuring pieces by art therapy patients.

The patients completed their work as part of their participation in the hospital’s Wellness Recovery Program and Adult Outpatient Services. The program is one of many by the Division of Therapeutic Activities as part of the Department of Psychiatry that also includes music therapy, dance therapy amongst other programs.

Maimonides President & CEO Kenneth D. Gibbs hailed the program for its effort to give behavioral health patients an opportunity to connect with others on a common level.

President & CEO of Maimonides Medical Center Kenneth Gibbs posing with some of the art pieces as part of the Moments In Time art exhibit. Photo by Kelly Mena

“Just by instinct, art is a way in which we all connect with our emotions and we all wrestle with how we perceive reality. And for this community for these patients to have this opportunity to in a very direct way express themselves and communicate with other people within the audience about what they think and what they perceive in the world is a powerful experience for them,” said Gibbs.

One of the artists, Judith Safern, was excited to share her piece, a recreation of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, an artists she admires and who inspires a lot of her work.

“This my version of Van Gogh’s sunflowers. It took a year to make. I don’t do paintings right away. I take time on and off so you get different inspiration. You take a look at it, you take a look at the original painting then you choose the colors and the paints and the materials as it goes and as it goes on it changes,” said Safern.

Judith Saffern with her piece Flowers ‘Happy Sunflowers. Photo by Kelly Mena

Muriel Fenner, a volunteer at Maimonides and artist featured in the show, also applauded the art therapy program at the hospital for its ability to really get through to patients.

“This program has so many benefits and everyone who is part of the program gets something out of it. You can always tell how someone is feeling through their art and that’s what makes it such a great program,” said Fenner.

The art therapeutic program is in its tenth year and is one of Gibbs’ favorite programs in the hospital, not just for the art that it produces but its ability to change the perception of behavioral health.

“This program is one small piece of a larger societal effort to overcome that stigma and education and openness are things that step by step overcome the stigma. Each of us knows someone if not from our own selves that are connected to someone who has these challenges and therefore we can learn to accept them in an open,” added Gibbs.

The “Moments In Time” exhibition will run for a year at the Marvin H. Lipkowitz Gallery, Rm. 1236, Community Mental Health Center, Maimonides Medical Center, 920 48th Street in Borough Park. Those looking to attend the show should call Carmen Luciano at 718-283-8280.