Patient turns to art during recovery at Frazier Rehab - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Patient turns to art during recovery at Frazier Rehab

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Works of original art now line the hallways of the Frazier Rehab Institute.  

But the paintings serve much more of a purpose than just decorating the walls.

"You know, art is my thing; it's how I express myself," said Billy Hertz, a Louisville painter.

When Hertz was a patient at Frazier Rehab Center, he wanted to make sure his therapists knew all about his priorities.  After undergoing surgery to remove a long-undetected brain tumor, he needed to learn how to walk and write again but, most importantly, how to paint.

"My colors were fabulous before the tumor. Now they're exceptional," he said.

For Hertz, art is more than just a decoration on a wall; instead, it's therapy.

"It makes people think," Hertz said.

He told the staff at Frazier those institutional office paintings just wouldn't do.

"It is so ick, ugly. It's like worse than funeral home art," said Hertz.

His experience inspired him to turn the walls of the rehab center into an art gallery of sorts.  The painting are for sale with a portion of the proceeds donated back to Frazier.

"It's been phenomenal from the patients to the staff and the staff taking patients around to see new pieces," said Hertz.

One of the most appreciative patients is also one of Frazier's youngest.  Two-year old Kye Wilson is in a restrictive cast after being hit by a truck.  He's recovering from a stroke, several skull fractures and leg fracture

"He loves the art work; I will say that he loves the art work. Every time he goes down the hall it's either fish or tree going down the hall so he's loving it," said Kye's mother, Rebecca Wilson.

Kye was there when new art was added to the walls of the children's wing, courtesy of Shacklette Elementary School students.

For Hertz, Kye's reaction makes it all worthwhile.

"Art is the continuity of civilization, from the first mark made by a caveman. This is like my soap opera, art is so important," said Wilson.

The Frazier Art Gallery fund also raises money for local students where art has been cut from the school curriculum.

Shacklette Elementary students received $300 in supplies so the students could make paintings for Frazier.

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