Nature Murals in New York


CT scans can be straight-up frightening.

Already feeling vulnerable, lying on your back, you’re told to stay still while you slowly get sucked into the center hole of a giant machine.

If this is disconcerting to an adult, imagine what it’s like for a child! Tell me again how many fairy tales are about being eaten alive by witches, wolves, trolls, giants,...

Diane Brown considered this very question after she herself had a nerve-wracking CT scan. But she was able to imagine herself away from the fear: "I just spontaneously imagined a painting going up the side wall and across the ceiling, and I really went into that painting.  And [then] the scan was over and I felt like I hadn't been there.  It was amazing, so I thought, 'I want to do that for other people.' "

So she did. She founded the nonprofit organization Rx Art, which focuses on hiring commissioned artists to add art in children’s hospitals.

Now what she does is a bit different than what I do, but it’s just as inspiring, and follows a lot of the the same goals.


I was particularly moved by one of her projects a few years ago in New York. In the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Mount Sinai Hospital, artist Jason Middlebrook has transformed colorless hospital walls into nature murals.

Colorful spring plants creep up from the floor and some of the blooming flowers at the top have seeds flying off into the wind.

Diane Brown loves the dandelions with dispersing seedpods: "I always thought of them as wishes, and heaven knows everybody here is wishing to be well, so it's very resonant for me."

The head of BMT Dr. Luis Isola said the paintings are “beautiful stuff. This is like bringing nature into the ward."

Evidence shows that patients in this hospital will actually heal faster and experience less pain. The staff immediately responded well, and the nurse manager was thrilled to have art that matched the mission of the hospital: hope and regeneration.


I share this mission as well, and with my Healing Art Cart program I even let patients choose art they l like for their own rooms! All the images feature elements that have been shown to positively impact health outcomes and reduce stress.

Check out the Evidence-Based Art page for more information!