Healing Power of Art and Nature

Featured Austin Artists

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas embraces the belief that a patient’s surroundings can have a profound healing effect on both mind and body.

Before the earliest blueprints, before a single shovelful of dirt was moved, there was a commitment to a visionary design philosophy that embraces the power of art as part of the healing process. That vision is far from a simple subjective notion: Several landmark studies have confirmed a powerful connection between a patient’s physical environment — even something as basic as a room with a view — and a patient’s physical and spiritual well-being.

Today, there are more than 900 paintings, sculptures and other art at Dell Children’s. This collection includes work from renowned artists such as Bolivia’s Graciela Boulanger and George Rhoads from New York City, as well as Texas — and Austin area — artists.

View our gallery and see some of the beautiful artwork that graces the walls of Dell Children’s and read the artists’ inspiration for their art.

Andy St. Martin


I like the efficiency, intelligence and resourcefulness of both the Buddha and nature. I like the way he uses nature to protect himself – the tree like an umbrella. I like that trees, commonly thought of as static, are actually pulsing with life and home to myriad activities, and that humans, commonly thought of as dynamic and mobile, have need sometimes to be completely still and to sort things out.

-Andy St. Martin

Annie Taylor


I was eight months pregnant when I created Play the Day Away. At the time, wonderful thoughts were going through my head about the delightfulness of childhood. I was very nostalgic about my childhood as well as thinking about all that I have to look forward to as a parent. I felt very honored to create a mural for the hospital’s playroom. It seemed important to create a gentle and busy scene to help inspire cheerful activity. During its creation I was thinking about children playing independently as well as with one another and how important these happy interactions are for good spirits! The art was originally painted on a clay board surface with gouache.

-Annie Taylor

Ave Bonar


I’ve always been interested in how the world looks from different perspectives, so I was sympathetic with this youngster when he decided to turn his little school bus world upside down.

-Ave Bonar

Celia Berry


I have always loved portraiture. When asked to create mosaic portraits about the Saints who represent the Daughters of Charity, I was very enthusiastic.

On the recommendation of Sr. Joanne Vasa, Spirituality Coordinator, I traveled to Emmetsburg, MD to visit the Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton and her home. The Shrine and the surrounding countryside were very inspirational. Beautiful mosaics were in the chapel and on the grounds of the Grotto where she taught and prayed. I was invited into the archives to see letters, dancing shoes, and numerous works of art with saints as subject matter.

-Celia Berry

Erik Pronske


Ever since moving to Texas many years ago, I have enjoyed the beautiful show of spring wildflowers that marks the beginning of new life of a brand new year. The pink evening primroses are among the spectacular show of spring wildflowers. Just as nature blesses us with new life, God has blessed us with new life, our children. How wonderful it is to see images of nature’s new life in a place where we care for our new life.

-Erik Pronske, MD

Fidencio Duran


My work, Sunday Best, is inspired by the many Sunday afternoons spent at my grandmother’s house with my cousins when I was a child. Having fun seemed to be the order of the day for everyone as we visited our extended family. There was always dinner and desserts afterwards. It was very difficult to keep your good clothes clean with all the activity.

-Fidencio Duran

Joel Salcido


For more than 20 years, photography has been my companion on this journey we call life. Many times it has escorted me into the darkest corners of human existence. Other times it has opened the gates of light where visual poetry and beauty reside.

As a journalist, I spent half of my career framing tragedy and disaster and sometimes glorified in it. In my need to rediscover hope, I began to seek refuge in what I deemed “visual poetry.” I made a commitment to use the camera as an instrument that would reveal beauty and truth in its simplest form. Photography can easily fall into the trap of celebrating the worst aspects of ourselves and it is for that reason I continue to print my awareness of hope so in the end it may help us all understand the beauty still within us.

-Joel Salcido

Lance Letscher


This piece was designed with its audience, children and parents visiting the hospital, in mind. I tried to imagine their varied circumstances and states of mind – anxiety and stress coupled with long periods of waiting and boredom – and tried to make something that would ease their discomfort. I always try to create work that will draw the viewers in and give their imagination plenty of raw material to work with.

-Lance Letscher

Victoria Smith


Lady Bird Johnson’s legacy of beautification has been an inspiration to me. I am attracted to photographing water environments and have visited the Wildflower Center for years. The reflective pool there has always captured my attention and my triptych of the spring and native grasses surrounding its borders is my way of celebrating the contrast between earth and water.

-Victoria Smith

Virginia Fleck


Spinning dizzy giggles.
Magic Flower’s endless blossom.
Spin art.
Polka dots.
Love’s long reach.

-Virginia Fleck

Will Van Overbeek


This is really just a family photo of my daughter and two friends headed for a swim at Pedernales Falls State Park.

-Will Van Overbeek

Zachary Booth Simpson


Mariposa was one of the first pieces I created using my interactive program. It is so named because I happened to be living in Spain at the time. It came about when I was first experimenting with the technology. Due to the difficulty of tracking fast moving participants, I started thinking about what might work well if the participants were instead rewarded for moving slowly. That conjured images of being still and hesitant while tracking an animal, and from there I arrived at the idea of a butterfly garden with the hopeful expectation that one will land on you.

-Zachary Booth Simpson