“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Pablo Picasso
As I will be teaching a workshop on Arts in Healthcare in February at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film, I felt it would be good to start posting on what Arts in Healthcare is and isn’t and what is happening in the field. The arts have so much to offer to people in hospitals and clinics, inpatient and outpatient. More and more artists are turning to healthcare as a way to make a difference in people’s lives with art. And it makes a huge difference! I found out how much with my own research project. Other artists are finding out too. Whether visual artists, writers, poets, dancers, actors or musicians all can and do touch the lives of people in healthcare situations. Every Monday, I will take a look at what artists are doing in healthcare.
Arts in Healthcare is not and should not be confused with Art Therapy. Art Therapy is a treatment modality used in mental health in some form. Art Therapists are trained practitioners in the fields of counseling, sociology, and/or psychology. Art is used as a means to treat or uncover emotional issues. Art Therapy is a specific educational degree in the area of mental health. Arts in Healthcare consists of practicing artists who bring art into the healthcare setting to improve the lives of patients. Arts in Healthcare practitioners are working artists.
There is an international organization whose sole purpose is to promote the arts in healthcare. That organization was known as The Society for Arts in Healthcare but is now known as The Global Alliance for Arts in Healthcare. You can find out more about the organization (here). Many opportunities exist for artists to bring their work into healthcare settings. The Global Alliance has information on opportunities, grants and more for interested artists.
So stay tuned on Mondays and we will cover what’s happening in the field of Arts in Healthcare. My project was called Art to Heart and had two parts. One part looked at the effects of art on the patients of a cardiac unit of a large hospital. The other part looked at the difference the art made to the nursing staff and to the artists. You can check out part two at: www.arttoheartproject.com. The research with the patients is still out and we hope to see it in print soon. I’ll be talking about the research part of the project at The National Art Education Association (NAEA) annual conference in San Diego, CA in late March. Hope to see you art educators there! In the meantime, stay tuned on Mondays and we’ll talk about what artists are doing in healthcare.