Making art is good for your health. I know this through my own experience as an artist. Now I am guiding this experience for others through my artist in residency work in hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers and other health care organizations.
This is an exciting field, expanding in many communities throughout the country. I am fortunate to be a part of this new energy.
In the fall of November 2004, I was selected to be one of ten artists to receive a grant to attend the International Training Program for Hospital Artists-In-Residence at The Creative Center in New York City. For five days we listened as doctors, patients, Hospice experts, child life and social workers, artists, and hospital staff presented a variety of information about working in a health care facility. We danced, drew, created a sand mandala, shared stories and visited the Whitney museum. For two afternoons we job-shadowed an artist in a hospital and had hands-on experience working in a setting of our choice.
I now have the good fortune to continue this work on my own. Currently, I am involved an initiative that is a collaborative effort between the NH State Council on the Arts, the Vermont Arts Exchange and the MA Cultural Council. This project is a regional arts and health care initiative that uses the arts as an innovative interactive treatment modality for people living with chronic disabilities due to age or disease. Through this project I have been an artist in residence at Crotched MT. Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, NH. In the winter/spring of 2007, I will be an artist in residence at Tewksbury (MA) Hospital where I be working with patients with Huntington's disease, geriatric patients and mentally ill patients.