The Arts - visual, dance, music, and such - are universal languages that "speak" to us emotionally, and sometimes spiritually. As a visual artist with the Arts and Healthcare organization, I am able to use my art form to communicate messages that hopefully promote positive feelings. As a cancer survivor, I realize the importance of the mind/body connection in the healing process, with patients at the Cancer Center where I volunteer. When these people get involved in doing art, looking at art, talking about art and artists, talking about what moves them -- I witness a difference in their state of mind. The despondent will lighten up, the frightened will become more relaxed, the frustrated will have a diverson, and a child who is bored will be pacified. Many times the "artist within" will be awakened, and the opportunity to create art can empower someone who has felt he's lost control of his life. These same effects were seen with the Arts and Healthcare program in the Red Cross shelters after the Katrina evacuation. The Arts are very powerful in changing attitudes and lives.
I cannot impress upon you the positive effect of art in the halls of the hospitals and clinics C.L.A.H. contracts with. The art shows rotate monthly, and every time I am there changing the shows out, I hear comments from staff, visitors, and patients about how much they enjoy the art and look forward to the next great show. Those who don't realize another show is about to go up always protest when they see the walls bare! They have not only come to enjoy the presence of art in their midst each day, they have come to expect and demand it! If every workplace did likewise, what a wonderful world this would be!
Central Louisiana Arts and Healthcare attempts to integrate art and healthcare in a variety of ways. They sponsor art shows in regional hospitals and offer a number of art related programs with the patients in these same institutions. They also sponsor a successful annual