Arts as Healing Program Helps Patients Express Themselves
The Arts as Healing program is designed to help patients at the Siteman Cancer Center and those involved with their care a chance to express themselves and use art as a tool in healing.
"We started this program because artistic endeavors provide patients and their supporters with a way to convey their complex emotions," says Vicki M. Friedman, facilitator of the Arts as Healing program and director of the Washington University School of Medicine's Medical Photography, Illustration and Computer Graphics (MedPIC) department. "Creating art also enables patients to focus on something besides their disease."
The program includes studio art classes and large art group projects. One of these projects, called Your Square Matters, decorates the Infusion Center at Siteman Cancer Center.
Friedman, who survived cancer 21 years ago, and her staff restarted the Arts as Healing program in 2005. Since its inception, the program has benefitted more than 5,000 people, including patients and their loved ones.
"Our office creates art for the School of Medicine from a scientific and research perspective, but this program gives us a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the community and touch patients' lives," Friedman says.