Healthline: 'Healing Arts' big part of new cancer center

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two years and $23 million later, the Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center has a whole new look, and the artwork inside
the renovated building serves a special purpose. The unique collection is part of the Healing Arts program that treats patients through the Mind-Body approach to medicine.

After battling cancer for twelve years, Cindy Cook knows how to appreciate the beauty in life, and she found plenty of it in the Center's new Meditation Room.

"I'm just amazed at how uplifted I already feel, and I wasn't feeling too great when I first got here," she said after spending about ten minutes in the room. "I was totally floored. The peace I feel in here is just amazing."

The room is located on the reverse side of a 22' x 22' stained glass wall that serves as the focal point of Healing Arts. The dramatic "gemeaux" style wall is the first thing people see when walking in the main entrance.   

"There's enough scientific study to say that when your brain opens up, and you're able to be thoughtful with your meditation, then you're able to add to your body's healing, and not just the cancer healing, but emotional healing as well," administrator Linda Lee said.

Lee worked with art consultant Ann Connelly to install 26 pieces of artwork throughout the six-floor facility.

"One of the most exciting things about the program was that we really did a wide search, we did a call for artists and did a national search, but in the end, most of the artists are from right here in Louisiana," Connelly said.
Connelly operates Ann Connelly Fine Art in Baton Rouge, and spent months working on Healing Arts with her team.
"We wanted to be very mindful about the approach, and we wanted to provide hope, and comfort and inspiration to go through the journey," she added.

The pieces are strategically placed in areas where patients need the most comfort, alongside the high-tech tools doctors use for treatment.

"It's taking the modern technology of treating cancer, and cloaking it with these complimentary therapies that are helping patients learn new things about themselves," Lee explained.

Patients like Cook, whose doctor encouraged her to join the Center's art program for patients and survivors. It's a welcome distraction during chemo sessions.

"This one reminds me of the angels who surround us," she said while showing off one of her drawings. "I find myself making things and doing things I never had done before. Really creative things that blow my mind."

It's a clinically-proven way to ease anxiety, and a permanent part of this new facility. The art will expand and evolve over time.
"It's been so rewarding to see our physician community that practice here be so embracing of this mind-body medicine that we do with visual
art and with art therapy," Lee said. "Because they know and understand that this can be complimentary to the solid medicine that they're providing."
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