Giving the Gift of Beauty

Posted on April 12, 2012
The Lewis Wellness Center at Fountain HouseThe Lewis Wellness Center at Fountain HouseEvery day, visitors from across the country and around the globe come to tour Fountain House, and one of the first things they often remark upon is the beauty of the surroundings. From the graceful curve of the staircase in the Classical Georgian foyer to the sleek, sun-drenched grandeur of the Wellness Unit, Fountain House is indeed a lovely place to be – a stark contrast to the impersonal or shabby trappings that are common in the world of mental health.

This emphasis on physical environment is an important part of our approach. The founders of Fountain House believed that the structure and condition of the building made a statement to the people living and working within them. The dignity and worth of the Fountain House community are reflected in the beauty of the setting. Despite stylistic differences, this value is shared by Fountain House-model programs everywhere, whether it manifests in the modern, loft-like elegance of Independence Center in St. Louis or in the cozy, country home-feel of Klubitalo Fontana in Finland.

At Fountain House, some very special corporate partners have helped us to keep up our appearance during the economic uncertainty of the past few years.

AFM Safecoat, a leading manufacturer of nontoxic paints, adhesives, and cleaners, graciously donated 140 gallons of low VOC paint to Fountain House for the cost of shipping. Norman, a member who is actively engaged both in trying to help save FH money and in promoting a greener, healthier lifestyle, made the connection to AFM. We’ve been using this high-quality paint around Fountain House and in our residential buildings, and we’ve even sold gallons, at a nominal cost, to members and staff who wish to paint their own apartments. This gift has not only brightened our walls – it’s kept our environment healthy!

Fresh flowers were among the early casualties of a leaner budget. Members and staff in the Horticulture Unit lost one of their most creative and inclusive jobs, and the rest of the House missed the vibrant arrangements that had graced every area. Enter member, artist, and stalwart lover of flowers, Kathy. She organized a “Bring Back the Flowers!” campaign and appealed to Associated Cut Flower Company, a family-owned and operated business that has been selling in the New York Flower Market for more than 50 years. Their generous weekly donation keeps us in buds and blooms. The flowers are back!

At the end of every season, Chelsea Garden Center, renowned purveyor of plants and a great neighbor, regularly gifts us a variety of beautiful plants and trees especially selected for the urban gardener. Their contribution immeasurably improves the look and feel of our buildings and gardens.

Many thanks to our wonderful partners who help us realize the beauty of our building. It’s an enormous source of pride to our community and one component of the therapeutic environment that helps members take steps toward mental health.

Andrea Roy
Communications Director, Fountain House


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