Now through August 5, Haven Hospice Photography Volunteer Joyce Pearson is among three artists whose work is currently being displayed in the Shared Hope – Art and Healing exhibit at The University of Florida Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville. On Saturday, July 16 from 3 to 4 p.m., the public is invited to a panel discussion with the artists and a reception afterward. Shared Hope includes photographs by Joyce Pearson and Stacey Steinberg, as well as a communal origami project by Kathy Liu. Through their work, each artist offers healing and support to families during times of illness and impending loss.
In Gainesville, Chiefland, Orange Park, Jacksonville, Palatka and St. Augustine, Haven Hospice is currently offering hand portraits for patients, family and friends as a keepsake. There is no cost for the service, and the photographs are given to the family as an electronic file. Haven Volunteer Photographer Joyce Pearson first brought the idea to Haven when she moved to Gainesville. These photos can be captured wherever a patient calls home: at their residence, assisted living facility, nursing home, in the hospital or a Haven care center.
“This work is very special and meaningful to me,” said Joyce who has also trained other Haven volunteers to create hand portraits. “Every family you touch is so grateful. There are few opportunities to share something so simple yet profound. The session takes so little time, but the photos have such a lasting impact.”
Joyce had a particularly powerful experience with a family recently. “We were arranging the hands of a mother, her son and her daughter. The son reached over to the bedside table to get a small crucifix and then entwined the chain in his mother's fingers. This is the image we captured. And in the next moment, while all three of them were still holding hands, their mother died. A little while later, the daughter shared that it was the first time the three of them had been in the same room together in over ten years. What a meaningful way to say goodbye.”
For more information about the exhibit or the panel discussion please go to www.harn.ufl.edu or call the Harn Museum of Art at 352.392.9826.