To highlight our experienced and compassionate nurses and staff, St. Mark’s Hospital featured a portrait series throughout the facility to help connect patients to their caregivers in a meaningful and emotional way to humanize the hospital experience.

Healing Hands: Portraits and Stories of St. Mark’s Team Members featured the photographs of 36 St. Mark’s employees from various departments to honor the work they do for patients and families every day. Each portrait was accompanied by a story; some biographical, others anecdotes of experiences that led employees to become caregivers and healthcare professionals.

The exhibit was created by Saundra Shanti, a member of the St. Mark’s Spiritual Care team, to demonstrate the power of arts in medicine. The purpose of the portraits was to help build community by sharing personal, inspiring and real stories about the staff who will be caring for patients during what can often be an emotional time.

Below is Saundra’s Artist Statement regarding the portrait series:

Saundra with Art

The purpose of this exhibit is to build community. When we humanize each other, we care more for one another. I wanted our employees to be recognized as valuable human beings apart from their professional titles. I wanted to cultivate interaction and respect across our departments and services. To do that, I decided to put faces and stories together, and to share them with all of you.

My process was to photograph 36 employees from many different departments. These are sculptural, tight images including only the face and hands. Next, I met with every person and invited them to tell me a story about themselves. These tales intersected with the hospital’s purpose story which I found inscribed in stone at the hospital’s entrance: “St. Mark’s Hospital is erected to the glory of God and for the healing of all people.” Finally, I marinated in the stories I heard and transformed them into written vignettes.

I hope you enjoy the viewing and the reading, and that your interaction with this exhibit will allow you feel more connected to all of us at St. Mark’s.

-Saundra Shanti

Photos by Chelsea P. Rowe (www.cprowe.com)