On exhibit @Miner: Mental Health Portraits by Charmaine Wheatley

June 5, 2017

Be honest.

What words came to your mind when you read the title of this exhibit?

Maybe gloomy, depressing, boring?

Well, get ready to be surprised.

Because the exhibit is intimate, playful, spontaneous, and colorful.

Charmaine Wheatley is artist-in-residence at University of Rochester Medical Center. Her goal is to shift perceptions around mental illness. Through her art, Charmaine encourages understanding and provides hope to those who struggle. No labels; no condemnations; no stigma.

Wheatley’s portraits are a breath of fresh air. Her work is informal and intuitive. Each drawing is a pocket-sized 4” x 7-3/8.” She uses watercolor, ink, gel pen, graphite, and gouache on paper.

Artist's studio

“De-stigmatizing happens through humanizing,” says Wheatley. So each portrait sitting involves an open-hearted discussion about living with the challenges of mental illness. Fragments of conversations are integrated within the portrait to create the final piece.

Sitters include people from University of Rochester, Strong Ties, Strong Recovery, Creative Wellness Opportunities, and St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center. They include people experiencing mental health challenges themselves, and/or professionals actively engaged in helping others, like psychiatrists, mental health activists, peer advocates, counselors, and nurses.

After July 1, 2017, Wheatley will shift her focus to the HIV/AIDS community of Rochester.

For more information about the project, visit bit.ly/cwartistinresidence.

About the artist: Since graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Wheatley has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts; Arts Nova Scotia; and Arts Newfoundland Labrador. During her on-going artist residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, she sat in the “Living Room” with museum patrons and employees. An installation of 104 of these portraits is on the view at the museum. Recent related portrait work includes two artist residencies with senior centers in Brooklyn in 2016 (Krakus Senior Center in Greenpoint; and the Hope Gardens Community Center in Bushwick).


Edward G. Miner Library is open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Posted by Susan Andersen

There’s something new in history…

October 6, 2016

…our History of Medicine reading room, that is.

Thanks to the generosity of Richard I. Burton, M.D., we have two, exquisite display cabinets. Dr. Burton also donated a collection of historical portraits and books, collected by him and his father, Kenneth G. Burton, M.D. (1905-1988).Illustration by Vesalius

We plan to unveil some of the 17th- to 19th-century framed prints from the Burton gift along with selections from our own rare book collection.

Currently on display is our first edition (1543) of Andreas Vesalius’ De fabrica corporis humani. This is the most important medical book published during the Renaissance and one of the most influential illustrated books in any discipline or period.

Our copy of the Fabrica is on display (M-F, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.) with a 19th-century engraved print from the Burton collection depicting Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) performing a dissection.

Lithograph of VesaliusEdouard Hamman’s 1849 painting, reproduced as a lithograph by Adolphe Mouilleron in the early 1850s, suggests Vesalius’s conscientious struggle with religion. Religious and cultural forces opposed dissection in Vesalius’s time.

He is pictured as if conflicted in thought, looking at a crucifix on the wall to his right. A skull and several large books suggest his research materials. His dissecting tools and research materials are at hand.

In the coming months we’ll be showing you more treasures from these collections, now that we have an environmentally safe and secure location to do so.  Thank you, Dr. Burton!

Miner Library hosts Shakespeare exhibit: “And There’s the Humor of It”

March 5, 2015

From March 16-April 25, 2015, Edward G. Miner Library will host the National Library of Medicine’s exhibit, “And There’s the Humor of It” Shakespeare and the Four Humors.”


William Shakespeare (1564–1616) created characters that are among the richest and most humanly recognizable in all of literature. Yet Shakespeare understood human personality in the terms available to his age—that of the now-discarded theory of the four bodily humors—blood, bile, melancholy, and phlegm. These four humors were thought to define peoples’ physical and mental health, and determined their personalities, as well. “And There’s the Humor of It” Shakespeare and the Four Humors explores the language of the four humors that bred the core passions of anger, grief, hope, and fear—the emotions conveyed so powerfully in Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies.

There will be an opening reception on Wednesday, March 25, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. in Miner Library. The exhibit’s co-curator, Theodore Brown, Ph.D., Professor of History and Medical Humanities and Phelps Professor of Public Health and Policy at the University of Rochester, will give opening remarks.

This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

We gratefully acknowledge support from the University Committee for Interdisciplinary Studies Human Values in Health Care Cluster.

“Memento Mori” photographs and poetry by Alex T. Q. Nguyen

May 23, 2014

Photograph by Alex T. Q. Nguyen

Extended through July!

According to Wikipedia, memento mori (Latin for “remember that you will die”) is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death. The expression, memento mori, developed with the growth of Christianity, which emphasized Heaven, Hell, and salvation of the soul in the afterlife.

In her photo essay, Memento Mori, medical student Alex T. Q. Nguyen combines poetry and images surrounding the theme of aging and mortality. For Alex, the images evoke childhood memories and her experiences with end-of-life care as a medical student.

Alex’s images portray her understanding of human suffering, in its many forms, across different ages and locations. In some instances, Alex’s memories of the individuals depicted are all that remains of their legacies. “Their bodies might turn to ash, but their stories live on and help shape who I am and will become as a humanitarian and physician.”

Alex Nguyen

Alex T. Q. Nguyen

“As a third-year medical student, I have only begun to learn about illness in clinical settings. Yet, what often overwhelms me is not necessarily the illness of a patient but rather the complexity of their life. Their stories inspire me to reflect on my own journey through writings and photography. I feel humbled by their kindness to share with me their deepest struggles, which remain as fragments of my memories, yet, continue to challenge my ideals about death and diseases.”

Alex extends her thanks to Dr. Stephanie Brown Clark and Ms. Susan Dodge-Peters Daiss for their support throughout this project.


“Memento Mori” is on display through June 2014. Miner Library is open to visitors Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 8 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10 am – 8 pm. Call 585.275.3361 for holiday hours.


Posted by Susan Andersen

“Our Hands” Paintings by Michele Villa-Castillo exhibited @ Miner

March 18, 2014

University of Rochester’s Edward G. Miner Library hosts an exhibit depicting the shared experience of medical students. The physical work of hands is expressed in addition to their emotional context. Every painting is inspired by true experiences.

2 students Rochester, NY – March 8, 2014 –  The people who work with third-year medical student, Michele Villa-Castillo, all say pretty much the same thing when they first see the corridor filled with large, bright canvases. “How did you find the time?”

Everyone knows how demanding, challenging, and exhausting a medical student’s schedule can be. Somehow, in stolen minutes, Michele managed to create a striking, thought-provoking, inspiring collection of ten canvases with corresponding didactics. Next to each painting, Michele describes the meaning behind the image, and also provides a “behind-the-scenes” progression of smaller images, allowing the viewer a unique inside experience, seeing the evolution of the canvas from concept to fruition, as it coalesces in the artist’s mind.

As most artists realize early in their careers, hands are difficult to capture accurately, let alone expressively. Michele finds hands a welcoming, fascinating challenge. “Hands not only carry our age, but also our communal and individual histories. Our hands make us human: their work and form convey our experiences and emotions. In my paintings, I aim to capture the beauty of hands by exaggerating color and proportion… My hope is that such immediacy recreates the sense of urgency and vitality we feel when we care for patients—and ourselves—during our medical training.”

Born in Wisconsin, Michele now calls Texas her home. She did her undergraduate work at University of Rochester. Both parents are from Colombia, South America.

Michele dedicates her artistic talent to her grandmother, who is a painter in Colombia. Michele has been drawing “since I can remember” and is fortunate to have parents who recognized and encouraged her artistic interest. It was during medical school anatomy class that Michele developed a particular passion and appreciation for hand anatomy and became inspired to focus on painting hands.  “As my career continues, I hope to incorporate my love for art with my passion for medicine because both are a part of who I am.”

“Our Hands” will be on display through April 2015. Miner Library is open to visitors Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 8 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10 am – 8 pm. Call 585.275.3361 for holiday hours.

Posted by Susan Andersen

“Learning from Learners,” an exhibit of 2- and 3-dimensional art by Rachel Wu

March 16, 2014

Pablo Picasso said, “Youth has no age.”

Maybe he realized, as Rachel Wu has, that adults can – and should! – adapt children’s learning strategies to foster innovative and continuous learning.

Rachel’s creative, enthusiastic, fun-loving approach to life is evident in her numerous and wide-ranging accomplishments. She is a scientist, an artist, and a musician.

Rachel received her Ph.D. in cognitive development from Birbeck, University of London, in 2011. In the same year, she completed a degree in fine art and design at Middlesex University. She’s also an accomplished violinist who used to play in an indie rock band (The Outside Royalty). Currently, Rachel is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (University of Rochester) and she’s studying piano and voice at Eastman School of Music.

Gaia Fractals by Rachel Wu

“Gaia Fractals” by Rachel Wu

Rachel’s passion for mastering methods and techniques in different fields serves as her own personal case study for cognitive development research.

“Studying the learning strategies of infants, arguably the best learners, not only helps us understand them, but also provides insights into lifelong learning. Mastering creative skills for art in adulthood is similar to how infants have to learn.”

Rachel grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Traditional Chinese painting, calligraphy, and paper cutting all fostered an early interest in learning and creativity.

Rachel Wu

Rachel Wu

In August 2013, “Gaia Fractals,” her signature piece for this exhibit, was recognized as “Best in Show” at The Bridge Art Gallery’s “The Art of Play” exhibit.

“Learning from Learners” is on display through April 2014.


Miner Library is open to visitors Monday-Friday, 7:30 am – 8 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10 am – 8 pm. Call 585.275.3361 for holiday hours or more information.



Posted by Susan Andersen

Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition Winners Exhibited @ Miner

January 8, 2014
f aquatic carnivorous plant

HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus
2013 Olympus BioScapes
Digital Imaging Competition®

An exhibit of award-winning photographs — intricate, brilliantly colored images of plant, animal and human subjects captured through light microscopes — opens January 6 in Edward G. Miner Library, University of Rochester Medical Center.

The 20 images in the exhibit won top honors in the 2013 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®, the world’s foremost forum for showcasing microscope photos and movies of life science subjects.

Miner Library will exhibit the digital movie and the photos through February. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

A spellbinding photo of the yawning trap of a carnivorous plant took First Prize in the 2013 competition. Igor Siwanowicz, a researcher from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Ashburn, Va., captured the eerily fascinating photo of the floating humped bladderwort plant. The confocal image was selected from more than 2,100 entries to earn Dr. Siwanowicz $5,000 worth of Olympus equipment.

The Olympus BioScapes competition is the world’s premier platform for honoring images and movies of human, plant and animal subjects as captured through light microscopes. Any life science subject is eligible, and entries are judged based on the science they depict, their aesthetics (beauty and impact of the image), and their technical merit. The winning images reflect the latest advances in neuroscience and cell biology.

“For 10 years, Olympus has sponsored this competition to bring to light the power, beauty and importance of science and the work that scientists do,” said Brad Burklow, Executive Director of International Business for the Scientific Equipment Group of Olympus America, Inc. “BioScapes movies and still images combine art and science to remind us of the fascination and wonder of the natural world and highlight vital work going on in laboratories. They serve as an inspiration to young people seeking careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For a decade, Olympus has been dedicated to bringing these amazing images and stories to the attention of scientists and non-scientists worldwide.”

For more information on this annual competition and to view all the winning 2013 images, go to www.olympusbioscapes.com/gallery/2013/.

Miner Library is open to the public Monday-Friday, 7:30 AM-8 PM; Saturday-Sunday, 10 AM-8 PM.