Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
The world-renowned center of innovative healing—past, present and future
The year was 1966. As Frederick Weisman lay ill in his bed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his wife Marcia desperately looked for ways to cheer him up. Frederick, a well-known collector, had always loved to gaze at the art on his walls at home, so when Marcia brought him one of his favorite pieces (a Jackson Pollock painting), he responded joyfully. Each day, as Marcia brought another piece to the hospital, his recovery would surprisingly progress.
Recognizing the notable influence that art has on recuperation, the Weismans, along with other philanthropists and several prominent artists, have contributed significant artwork to the hospital over the years.
Cedars-Sinai has always welcomed new and innovative ideas in patient treatment. By creating a museum-like environment in which original artwork lines the hallways, art has become a therapeutic distraction from illness, encouraging patients to remove themselves from “the physical element” of their illness and become immersed in an abstract level of thought.
The medical center offers a tour to the patients, which begins at the Marcia Weisman auditorium and gallery area where several Andy Warhol pieces and a recent donation of a personal art collection from Patricia Faure are on display. The hallways on most floors contain colorful abstract pieces that serve as “way- finders”, easily directing both patients and visitors to locations throughout the hospital. From a Claes Oldenburg interactive sculpture of an ice bag in the lobby to the LA Uncovered series of limited edition lithographs that includes several pieces by Robert Rauschenberg, the art displayed brings soothing feelings yet stimulates the patient’s cognitive abilities and prompts the sense of comfort sug- gested by familiar places, objects and people.
John T. Lange, a curator at Cedars-Sinai who often officiates the art tours, finds the reactions from both patients and medical personnel to be remarkable. According to him, a donor patient who had quadruple bypass surgery and was in the cardiac rehab program was quite impressed and actually wanted to contribute some of his own work as part of the healing environment.
Cedars-Sinai continues to plant seeds for the growth of significant and crucial projects.The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Board of Governors, an integral arm of the hospital, continues to serve in the development of healing research. Comprised of prominent members of the Los Angeles community, the board has had and continues to have a very successful and hands-on approach regarding its affiliation with the hospital. Many of the board members serve on its committees and take an active, day-to-day role in the inner workings of the hospital.
“Cedars is not just a hospital. It also encompasses a unique group of philanthropists. There is a tremendous amount of research supported by donation. It’s an important part of the community,” says Larry Powell, Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Governors.
In 1996, the Board of Governors raised funds for the Board of Governors Gene Therapeutics Research Institute, where researchers look into human cells to unlock the causes of disease. For the past few years, the Board of Governors has begun an extensive fundraising effort to institute the Board of Governors Center for Cancer Research.The mission of the center will be to support and equip world-class scientists in the exploration of the vital frontiers of cancer research.The “Road to a Cure” gala on November 15, 2007 will help to raise funds for the center.
“The Board of Governors initiated an ambitious campaign to raise $15 million to fund the Board Of Governors Center for Cancer Research at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Board Of Governors Infusion Center. In record time we hope to reach the goal and even surpass it.As one of the primary fundraising and leadership groups at Cedars-Sinai, the Board of Governors is proud to be a major force in such a world-class med- ical center and to have the opportunity to do something vital to help control this insidious disease,” say Annette Shapiro and Celia Davidson Farkas, co-chairs of the Board of Governors Development Committee.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Board of Governors have always believed in looking for ways to reach out to people through healing, whether through the arts or research. Inventive thinking about curing disease and dedicated leadership have paved a path toward health in the past and will continue to do so now and into the future.
Image courtesy Cedars Sinai Medical Center.