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Visual Solace

KDH Hospital to open new
'Art of Healing' exhibit with reception

Reception will include dedication
of painting by the late Bob Saueressig

(February 2015) – “Art can be a positive distraction for people,” says Carol Dozier of King’s Daughters’ Hospital. “It reduces anxiety, which promotes faster healing.”
She is absolutely right. Studies have shown that the human brain’s reaction to stress and pain can be decreased with engaging artwork. Not only can it provide a focus away from unpleasant medical problems, art can also inspire positive thinking which can help promote a greater sense of well being.
Dozier says that is why KDH felt the need to reach out to the Madison Art Club in the creation of a program called the Art of Healing. The plan was to display a rotating juried selection of art in the hospital’s cafeteria.

Saueressig painting

Photo by Jenny Straub Youngblood

This painting of “The Old Gatehouse” at Madison State Hospital by the late Bob Saueressig will be dedicated at the February reception and become part of the permanent collection at KDH Hospital.


It was decided that the art club would be the appropriate gathering place for candidates to submit artwork for review by a committee. The art club was more than willing to participate. According to the art club’s president, Teresa Waller, the late Bob Saueressig saw the Art of Healing program as an excellent opportunity for local and regional artists to be involved in a partnership that could help promote local artists while promoting the health and well being of others at the same time.
“He was very passionate about the ‘Art of Healing’ and was among the first exhibitors of the program,” says Dozier.
The efforts of Saueressig and his relationship with the community warranted that his memory be preserved. Therefore, a painting titled “The Old Gate House” has been selected as a memorial and will be part of the Art of Healing’s permanent collection. The work depicts the gatehouse at the west entrance of the Madison State Hospital. Contributions to the purchase of this painting will be matched by KDH “dollar for dollar” up to $500. A reception has been scheduled from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8. Purchases made at the reception will be discounted by 10 percent.
Dozier says that the selection of the painting was a joint decision made by the art club and KDH. Waller says the collective memory that a local scene inspires played a role in why it was chosen.

Bob Saueressig

File photo

Madison artist Bob Saueressig left his mark on the town with paintings and murals like this one.


Saueressig’s widow, Heidi, remembers the day that her husband first saw the gatehouse in 2001. The couple was out exploring when the stone structure caught the artist’s eye.
“He did that so many times,” Heidi recalls fondly. “He would say we couldn’t come back later because the light wouldn’t be right. We would have to stop immediately.”
Heidi adds that the gatehouse sparked Saueressig’s interest in the many stone buildings of Jefferson County and he soon became fascinated with Jefferson County history in general.
Among the current exhibitors is New Albany, Ind., resident and Madison Art Club member, Donna Thompson, who has first-hand experience with the healing power of art. A survivor of a traumatic brain injury in 1999, Thompson was able to benefit from a program in Louisville, Ky., that used art therapy. “It helped me deal not only with the injury but other traumatic events that we all experience in life,” the 51-year-old artist says.
In an effort to cultivate her artistic ability, Thompson decided to take an art class and began to receive art instruction from fellow art club member, Joyce Sweet Bryant, who also has a painting in the current exhibit at KDH. Thompson says she was encouraged by Bryant to enter art shows as a way to gain exposure and become familiar with the art world. This is Thompson’s first time to be accepted into an Art of Healing exhibit.
Long time art club member Gary Chapman also has a painting in the current exhibit. This is quite intriguing as the artist is known primarily for his wood turnings. This and other paintings are currently on display at the hospital.

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