By Naeisha Rose
Artists from the Community Learning Center of the Clarkstown School District in Rockland County showcased the art they donated to Jamaica Hospital’s Ferrara Family Center for Hospice Care last week.
For some of the 20 artists that came from the center, Nov. 14 marked the first time they saw the hospice — located at the hospital at 8900 Van Wyck Expy. in Richmond Hill — following an hour-long drive in a yellow school bus, according Director Marion Arbuco, of Community Learning Center.
“We were approached about doing this project and donating a piece of artwork and ended up with 29,” said Arbuco. “It grew to a bigger project than we expected.”
The artists have different backgrounds, varying occupations, and range in age from 40 to 92, according to Arbuco.
Gwyn Guerriero, the art instructor from the center, was proud of the artists who donated work to the hospice center, which was remodeled more than a year ago.
“Most of them are retired, and they are very diverse,” said Guerriero. “You can see the affect of that with an engineer versus a nurse [in the attention to detail].”
Many of the artists painted calming landscapes of serene gardens, country sides, beaches and plains for the patients. This marked first time several members of the center have exhibited their work outside the Community Learning Center, according to Guerriero.
“I just enjoy painting,” said Carol Ann Dell Whisker, who painted waves hitting rocks by the beach, and a outdoor rock path in a garden. “I am thrilled — it’s like a writer getting published. For me, it’s like I have a painting on the wall that people will gather around like it’s in a museum.”
The hospice care center was named after Joe Ferrara, a 20-year trustee at Jamaica Hospital who donated funds toward the hospital and reached out to his network of friends to help with the renovation efforts.
“This community needed a hospice unit,” said Ferrara. “I had the easy part — all I had to do was write a check and shake down my friends for money.”
The renovations at the hospice center, which provides end-of-life services, cost approximately $1.2 million, according to Ferrara.
The hospice has state-of-the-art equipment, 10 patient rooms, a conference room, and a family room where relatives could even bring pets that overlooks the borough and the city, according to Dr. Alan Roth, the director of Hospice and Palliative Care Service.
“I think we gave great medical care in the past, but it was in a mediocre facility,” said Roth. “I believe now that we have the best hospice facility in the world has to offer.”
The hospice provides sophisticated medical care that can’t be provided at the home, or at a nursing home for dying patients. The staff performs procedures like intravenous therapies and is equipped with high-flow oxygen machines, according to Roth.
“I think this [art] is also important to the families, because the environment gives them a warm place to say goodbye to their loved ones,” said Ferrara.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose