We brought you the Jeff Koons part of this story a few weeks ago. Now NPR fills in some more of the details on Diane Brown’s Rx Art program. It began when she was in the hospital 10 years ago for a CT scan and frightened out of her wits:
“I was on a gurney, strapped in with an IV in my arm, and the only way I could get out was in my imagination,” she says. “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.’ ”
Having worked as an art curator, gallery owner and private art dealer, Brown decided she was going to try to put serious art where treatment actually takes place in hospitals. So she set up Rx Art and raised more than $100,000 in the first several months.
The art comes at no cost to the institutions, but even so, Brown says it was initially difficult to get hospitals to participate.
“I bought all this art,” she says, “art that I thought would be appropriate for hospitals. It was really good art, but I couldn’t get a hospital to take a chance.”
Finally, Rockefeller University Hospital in New York agreed to take one of her projects. Then another hospital decided to chance it, and then another.