August 17, 2022

Support of the Arts

Art Fleischer, MD, FACR

As my career in academic radiology concludes, I think about redirecting my purpose to other endeavors. Accordingly, I submit this piece in hopes that it might engender thought for others.

My family has been, and continues to be, major supporters of the arts. My father, Eugene Fleischer, was a member of the New York Youth Symphony during the Depression. He played various instruments, mostly the violin and viola for which he received 50 cents per concert.

My parents were major supporters of the opera and underwrote many musical competitions. As kids, we were fortunate in attending concerts, plays and art exhibitions. My parents helped to establish the art museum on the University of Miami campus. More recently, they helped establish the Miller Theater as the home for the Symphony of Augusta (Georgia), and my mother underwrote the Center for American Opera at Augusta University. My father's interest in studio glass served as the impetus for the Eugene Fleischer Collection of Studio Art Glass at the Morris Museum in Augusta.

During my residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, I saw the enjoyment that our Chairman, Everette James Jr., MD, FACR, had for American impressionistic painting. His collection of paintings adorned our University Club and many other places throughout the campus. The picture of Dr. James and Richard Heller, MD, FACR, with Paul Lauterbur, PhD (one of the inventors of MRI), at our University Club in 1980 shows one of Dr. James’ favorite paintings in the background.

Richard Heller, MD, shakes hands with Paul Lauterbur, PhD as Everette James Jr. MD, FACR looks on at the Vanderbilt University Club, 1980
(Left to right): Richard Heller, MD, Everette James Jr. MD, FACR, Paul Lauterbur, PhD

I have enjoyed becoming involved in the Nashville Symphony and Nashville Opera. In a city known for country music, we have many talented musicians here. My daughter uses her artistic talents as an occupational therapist. Her husband, a biomedical engineer by training, is an accomplished string musician as well as music producer and teacher.

My wife's sister (now deceased) was a gifted artist and my sister continues to be today. My wife and I support programs to familiarize youngsters to operatic music. Our opera group has a mobile stage that travels to many elementary schools as a backdrop for singers. The symphony supports the education of young musicians and provides guidance to their musical careers.

Thus, while I am grateful for a fulfilling medical career using an inaudible type of sound, I encourage others to consider finding similar fulfillment in their "Golden Years" through support of the arts.