exterior of the helen's house building off university blvd. in Jacksonville, Fla.

New Art Installation Honors Brooks Founders

News Update

May 15, 2024

It goes without saying that Brooks Rehabilitation founder J. Brooks Brown, MD, and his wife, Helen, shaped healthcare in North Florida and beyond. However, many people don’t realize the couple had another passion in life: art.

An experienced carver, Dr. Brown found that this craft “takes too much time.” After discovering he could create a painting in a single afternoon, he turned to this craft to satisfy his artistic hunger. The majority of his artwork included pastoral scenes, forests and snow-covered mountains. Helen was an incredible artist too.

The Creation of Helen’s House

Every two years, Brooks offers “crowdsourcing” as a way for employees to submit innovative ideas that fill a gap and improve our patient or employee experience. After experiencing the troubles of affordable housing firsthand, two former patients teamed up with Brooks employees to pitch the idea of affordable and accessible housing for individuals trying to remain in Jacksonville, Fla., for continued therapy. In 2017, this vision came to life.

Helen’s House is our nonprofit hospitality house that offers temporary, affordable lodging to our patients and their caregivers. The house is named in honor of Helen, a welcoming and gracious host who made everyone she met feel like they were part of the family. During construction, it was important to keep Helen and Dr. Brown’s welcoming legacy alive throughout its foundation.

Beverly, the Brown’s eldest daughter, donated several paintings she collected from her parents to adorn the walls of the house. Those original paintings can still be found hanging in the lobby and hallways.

Improving the Guest Experience

In preparation for Brooks’ 50th anniversary in 2020, more paintings from the Browns resurfaced and were donated to Brooks by Beverly.

“Unfortunately, additional artwork was never installed in the 36 guest rooms and we’re always looking to make improvements aimed at improving the guest experience,” said Ken Rudd, manager of Helen’s House. “When more of the Browns’ art came to light, we knew exactly what to do with it.”

Ken Rudd, Manager at Helen's House, stands next to watercolor painting.

With the assistance of a generous donation from a former Helen’s House guest, Brooks teamed up with Leigh Fogle of Fogle Art Consulting to leverage the Browns’ artwork in all of the guest rooms. Overall, 72 pieces were created and hung in 36 rooms.

installer ensures if painting is level

“It is an absolute honor to have our founders artwork displayed at Helen’s House for our guests and families to enjoy,” said Rudd. “Timeless art pieces such as these help us humanize the Browns and give tribute to their legacy in support of our culture.”

Rudd also states that he’s sincerely appreciative of the collaboration of many who helped bring this to fruition.

“We are so grateful for a donor to make it possible to now have beautiful artwork in each guest room,” Rudd says. “Thanks to this donation to our Brooks Foundation, the gift of Beverly’s artwork and the creativity of others who assisted with this implementation, we can better visualize and humanize the legacy of Dr. Brown and Helen through their personal art creations.”


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