The intersection of art and health…who knew? Well, perhaps some of you did. Speak for yourselves, though! I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, and somehow was never introduced to the relationship between art and health. I’ve always believed art to be a part of everything, but had never given a thought to this specific relationship. Now, nearly 3 weeks into our third challenge project, I am facinated by the concept. Currently, my team is working with Beaumont Health System to create an art exhibit that builds awareness of healthy living and highlights local, affordable and accessible fitness activities. It was during our introduction to this challenge that I first learned about the impact of art in healthcare settings. Research provides evidence that the integration of art into healthcare facilities assists in the reduction of stress and improved outcomes, patient safety and overall healthcare quality.
While art as a wellness practice is a brand new concept to me, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with various community members who have many years of experience in the art and healthcare space. Photographer Monte Nagler has been providing art to healthcare facilities including hospitals, imaging centers, medical offices, dental offices and senior living centers for over 20 years. Heavily influenced by Ansel Adams, Monte’s pieces are nature-focused, a subject matter that has proven to be particularly calming to viewers. Monte’s work hangs in various Detroit healthcare systems, including Henry Ford, Beaumont and St. Joseph Mercy. Artist Grace Serra has worked as a public art coordinator and art educator for almost 30 years. Currently, Grace serves as the Art Advisor for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Healing Arts Program. We had an incredible opportunity to tour the Detroit Medical Center with Grace, whose passion for this type of work was obvious as she guided us through the art collection at the DMC. Asha Shajahan, a physician at Beaumont Health System, has seen the positive impact of art on health firsthand. Asha is a huge advocate for creative therapies that enhance patient care, and recently hosted symposium at the Detroit Institute of Arts that brought healthcare leaders together and brought attention to the impact art has on health.
As always, I am blown away by the unique initiatives and passionate, dedicated individuals that are here in Detroit. As an artist, I cannot believe I didn’t know that art in healthcare was making such a huge difference in people’s lives. I’m humbled by the opportunity to have a hand in this project and get to know the individuals who are experiencing the power of art and healthcare firsthand.