The Art of Medicine

The Art of Medicine

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Hospital rooms can be lonely and downright depressing. One might wonder why hospitals can’t spruce them up a bit and maybe add some uplifting art work? Jewish Hospital does just that, but with the patient’s health in mind.


Research shows that when a person feels good, the chemicals in the bodies change: blood pressure goes down, feelings of loneliness disappear and they forget about being sick for a while. That’s the goal of the “Healing Through Art,” a program that links community art students and Jewish Hospital patients.


Lisa McCormick, manager of the Health Sciences Library and co-coordinator for the Holistic Team, was part of a committee that helped start the program four years ago when they wanted to make the hospital a more 092908HEALTH2.jpghealing environment. The committee had a passion for art, so they contacted The Artistry, an art school in Union, Ky., and asked them to create artwork to appeal to all different kinds of patients. Students are asked to create the art so patients can experience a kind of healing. Once completed, a hospital volunteer walks around with the “art cart,” and asks patients if they’d like to pick one out.


  “The idea is the person is going to relax and find something that strikes their fancy, brings back happy memories and connects with volunteer,” McCormick says. “For some people, that takes away from their pain or worries momentarily.”


Some of the pictures are whimsical and cute, like a popular little pig 0208GIBBERMAN.gifthat has made its way into several rooms. Others are more complex. Most patients take the artwork home with them when they’re discharged. If not, the art gets displayed in the hospital.


When family members visit, the art also becomes a conversation starter. “(They) share their memory or feelings about the piece of art,” McCormick says. “People are really touched that this is all-volunteer; that these students are just really giving with their art.”


The hospital took the program a step further by hosting a reunion dinner for patients and their caregivers. Artistry students between the ages of 8 and 17 create placemats for the dinner, with their name and age on the back. Each person at the reunion gets to take one home. Last year’s dinner theme was butterflies, to symbolize life and “being free.”


That could make anyone feel better already.


First Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography

Location: The McAlpin
Model: Carissa Bailey of New View Management Group, Inc.,

Makeup Artistry:
Chenese Bean Makeup Artistry

Hair Styling: Robin Howard, Ruckus Glamour Studios


Second Photo: Courtesy of
The Artistry