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Embracing healing, hope and renewal through art

The worldwide pandemic has taught many lessons in patience and perseverance, in grace and gratitude. Most people, no doubt, have had to learn to adapt in some way, large or small. And when changes occur, challenges often result.

One of the most acute challenges over the past year has faced those in need of hospital care and those caregivers who worked tirelessly to serve them.

Enter the Healing Arts Leadership Council led by Christine Havice, Ph.D.,  volunteer chair of the council, and Meg Stanton, Summa Health’s art curator, and many council members who drive Summa Health’s Healing Arts Program, a community initiative which has been lauded by the Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading arts nonprofit organization.

“Our mission is clear,” said Meg. “We want to distract patients and their loved ones through beautiful, interesting things, such as our gallery. If we’ve taken them away from their anxieties even for a few minutes, we have succeeded in our mission. And there’s no question that art has the power to heal people in many different ways.”

Since the March 2020 opening of the 1,500-square-foot Summa Gallery on the Akron Campus, the council has devoted its work to helping patients, their families and friends de-stress, if just briefly.

Every three months Meg rotates the gallery art, with the spring 2021 exhibit focusing on — appropriately for today — “Hope, Healing and Renewal.” This exhibit features some of the newest artists from the Healing Arts collection, including Hilary Gent, paintings; Jacques Jackson, mixed media mosaics; Ryn Clarke, digital fantasy landscapes; Dinara Mirtalipova, paintings and linoleum block prints; and Meaghan Reed, mixed media wallflowers. 

“We needed something uplifting and hopeful,” said Meg about the current exhibit. “And we certainly have it!”

In addition to the visual arts, the Healing Arts Garden Committee, chaired by Sandra Smith, is involved in the planning for a Serenity Garden that will be part of Summa’s new Behavioral Health Pavilion, scheduled to open on the Akron Campus in early 2023.

The Healing Arts Music Committee is chaired by Barbara Feld, and together with fellow committee member, Paul Jarrett, they are establishing an exciting, new partnership with the Akron Symphony Orchestra that will bring musical performances to the new patient tower.

Council members help by providing strategic advice, serving as ambassadors for the healing arts program in the community and encouraging philanthropic support.

Their dedication and generosity are demonstrated in many forms, including a recent gift of $25,000 from Meg’s husband, Tom, an art collector himself. The gift, given in Meg’s honor, is planned to fund a publication that will catalog all current and future art collections.

All pieces in Summa Health exhibitions are available for purchase. To purchase art, email or call 330.375.3159. Twenty-five percent of each purchase supports the Summa Health Healing Arts Fund.

For more information about supporting the healing arts program at Summa Health, contact Shelley Green at 330.375.6891 or


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