More than 200 feet of shining, twisting, flowing aluminum dance on strings suspended from the ceiling over the waiting area in the Cupp Lobby at Penn Presbyterian Hospital. Its name: Waves of Healing. The piece was created specifically for the 400 square foot space and its high ceiling, and it took nearly nine hours to install. The artist, Richard Monteleone, points out that each curve and each inch of place­ment was made in accordance with how the light interacts with the alumi­num used for the sculpture. He de­scribes it as a “thank you” to the Penn Medicine care teams that saved both of his parents’ lives. Monteleone hopes that Waves of Healing will help foster a calming and healing environ­ment for families and loved ones of PPMC’s patients.

He knows all too well how important such an environment can be. Over the past three years, Monteleone spent more than 30 hours at PPMC. In 2014, his mother underwent a successful open-heart procedure. Then, earlier this year, he returned again after his father suffered a heart attack and also required open-heart surgery.

“Will he survive? What if he’s debili­tated? Can my mom handle that?” Monteleone wondered as he waited for their doctors to deliver the news. “While we were waiting to hear about my dad’s surgery, I spent some time talking to other families who were waiting for their loved ones. All our stories were very similar. The waiting area is very important.”

The Cupp Lobby, which became so familiar to Monteleone, was built in 1982, long before the aesthetic value of hospitals was a consideration. But now, as more and more studies have shown the positive impact of art on the healing process, design has be­come a critical component of facility development. Across Penn Medicine’s facilities, art and medicine interact, creating environments that foster a sense of well-being and energy for patients, staff, and visitors. And that was what Monteleone was striving to create. As he put it, “I want to help counteract the grueling process of waiting for our loved ones with the beauty and spectacle of art.”

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