Cloudy Thinking

The arts have an extraordinary ability to enhance our lives, to help us heal, and to bring comfort in times of great stress.”–Dana Gioia,  NEA Chairman, 2003, (from Creativity in Healthcare.com)art_heart23

How would you like to sit before a painting of what looks like bleeding clouds while waiting to have medical tests? My friend, Sue, related this story to me from her personal experience.  Do artists consider the potential audience when creating?  Does it matter?  Do designers consider the audience over whether or not an art piece works on a wall?

It was an issue that came up in The Art to Heart Project, (more here).  Artists were given selection criteria for art based on the research of Dr. Roger S. Ulrich and others about the effects on patients when viewing certain types of art.  As we measured the effects of the art on patient ambulation in our project, we didn’t want negative responses to the art to influence the outcome.  Once artists understood that reasoning, they created on these guidelines with very little difference in their process.  All the artists described the experience of creating for a patient population to be gratifying.

If the bleeding cloud artist did not know where the painting was going once sold, then the designer made the choice.  In either case, did anybody stop to think of the potential mindset of the viewers?  Bleeding Clouds might be interesting in some places but probably not in a doctor’s office.   Which would help you relax while waiting for your medical test results: bleeding clouds or a forest of green trees?

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