Press Release


normal medium large

    Growing Art Collection Creates Healing Aesthetic for Stony Brook Patients

    Long Island artists’ donations build on University Hospital collection

    STONY BROOK, N.Y., May 16, 2012 – The Stony Brook University Hospital Art Collection is growing, thanks to an active and enthusiastic volunteer University Hospital Art Committee, and the generosity of numerous Long Island artists and their families – creating a more aesthetically pleasant, healing environment for hospital patients.

    In an ongoing effort that began just last September, the Hospital Art Committee has acquired more than 60 oil paintings, acrylics, watercolors, drawings, prints, photographs and mixed media works – all gifts from well-known artists who have worked on Long Island, or from their families.

    “It’s easy to make our case, since most people know from personal experience what a strong effect a work of art can have, especially when they are ill or worried about someone they love,” said Carol Marburger, a member of the Art Committee.

    The Art Committee identifies particular needs and then asks for donations from established Long Island artists, Marburger said. An Acquisitions Panel makes sure that each work contributes to the hospital’s healing mission. Some pieces might be charged with color and energy, while others might offer pathways to serenity and peace. 

    The project’s aim is not to fill empty wall space – something that can be done on a temporary basis by putting up posters and reproductions -- but to build a permanent collection of fine original art for Stony Brook University Hospital, for the benefit of its patients, their families and the dedicated doctors, nurses and staff who care for them.

    “This is a tremendous contribution to the healing environment that represents the core mission of Stony Brook Medicine,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President, Health Sciences, and Dean, Stony Brook University School of Medicine. “We are very grateful for the selfless efforts of these dedicated volunteers, who are passionate about not only art, but also about Stony Brook University. We are also extremely grateful to the many Long Island artists and their families whose generous donations have made this collection possible.”

    Members of the Art Committee – Joan Lash, Carol Marburger and Lynn Spinnato – are volunteers with ties to the University and the arts community on Long Island. Marburger is an artist whose late husband, former University President Jack Marburger, also served as Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Science Advisor to President George W. Bush. Lash is the wife of Ray Williams, Dean of the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine. Spinnato is a graduate of Stony Brook University and a professional photographer whose partner, Benjamin Hsaio, is Stony Brook’s Vice President for Research. The project was initiated by Elaine Strongwater, wife of former Hospital Chief Executive Officer Steven Strongwater, MD.

    The collection builds upon a generous gift made in 2009 by the Stony Brook University Medical Center’s Development Council of paintings by Ty Stroudsburg, Christian White, Doug Reina and Nancy Bueti-Randall, as well as a gift from the estate of Claus and Helen Hoie. All artwork in the collection has been given to the Hospital and is owned by the Stony Brook Foundation. 


    About Stony Brook University Hospital:

    Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) is Long Island’s premier academic medical center. With 597 beds, SBUH serves as the region’s only tertiary care center and Level 1 Trauma Center, and is home to the Stony Brook Heart Institute, Stony Brook Cancer Center, Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital, Stony Brook Neurosciences Institute, and Stony Brook Digestive Disorders Institute. SBUH also encompasses Suffolk County’s only Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center, state-designated AIDS Center, state-designated Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, state-designated Burn Center, the Christopher Pendergast ALS Center of Excellence, and Kidney Transplant Center. It is home of the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. To learn more, visit

    PHOTO CAPTION: Stony Brook University Hospital employees Leta Brown, left, and Barbara Williams, right, join interim SBUH Chief Executive Officer Fred Sganga in admiring “Caribbean Sunset,” the work of the late Bob Lefferts, who retired as a professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare in 2004. After his retirement, Lefferts found his second calling as a fine arts photographer, creating impressionistic motion scapes through horizontal movement of the camera during exposure. Two of Lefferts’ works were donated to SBUH’s art collection by Sybil Lefferts.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: For sample images of art in the collection, click here.

    About the Artists:

    Marilyn Church’s work as a courtroom artist covering the trials of such well-known figures as John Gotti, John Hinckley, Woody Allen, Martha Stewart and Leona Helmsley, as well as witnesses like Jackie Kennedy, is documented in a book called The Art of Justice. In 2010, the Library of Congress acquired over 3,500 of her drawings. Four of her figurative oil paintings plus a drawing make up a gallery in one of the patient waiting areas.

    Ruby Jackson is a sculptor and mixed media artist who has exhibited widely in East Hampton and New York City. Tiffany & Co. has featured her sculptures in its windows. She is also assistant to the curator of the Pollock/Krasner House in Springs.

    Michael Knigin (d. 2011) was a professor at the Pratt Institute and a master printmaker who collaborated with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. In 1988, NASA commissioned him to create a visual interpretation of the space shuttle Discovery’s launch and the touchdown of the Atlantis.

    Bob Lefferts (d. 2010) was a fine arts photographer who discovered his second career after he retired in 2004 as a professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare. In a few brief years he produced work that was the subject of eight solo shows and is widely collected.

    Terence Netter, a former Jesuit priest and the founding director of Stony Brook’s Staller Center for the Arts, has taught on the faculties of Fordham, Santa Clara and Jacksonville Universities and has had numerous one-man shows in New York City, on Long Island and in France.

    Richards Ruben (d. 1998) won more than 50 awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He taught at UCLA, The Cooper Union, Columbia University, New York University and the Pratt Institute’s summer program in Venice, where he created the Venetian Fragments that are in the Collection.

    Scott Sandell’s work has appeared in solo and group shows including The Chicago Center for the Print and The Frick Museum in New York and is in the collections of The Walker Art Center, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Harvard University, the U.S. State Department and the Library of Congress. In 2011 he was appointed Director of Stony Brook Southampton Visual Arts.

    Manfred Schwartz (d. 1970), a painter and printmaker, lived in Paris between World Wars I and II, where he was a friend of Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Roualt. His work has been collected by museums across the country, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim and Whitney Museums in New York. The Rhode Island School of Design and the Whitney Museum have given him retrospective exhibits.

    Other artists whose work is hanging or soon to join the collection include: Abby Abrams, Fred Badalamenti, Jeanette Dick, Sue Ferguson Gussow, Arnold Hoffman Jr., Melissa Imossi, Flo Kemp, Joan Kraisky, Edward McEvoy, Eleanor Meier, Jim Molloy, Iacopo Pasquinelli, Doug Reina, Anne Sager and Laura Westlake.