Art adds power to healing place

Hospital gallery helps spark peace, serenity

Posted 10/2/16

The healing power of art has been recognized for centuries — visual arts to look at (and to create) and musical arts as well. The Castle Rock Hospital Foundation sponsors a program, Healing Arts, which integrates art into healing at the Castle …

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Art adds power to healing place

Hospital gallery helps spark peace, serenity

Posted

The healing power of art has been recognized for centuries — visual arts to look at (and to create) and musical arts as well. The Castle Rock Hospital Foundation sponsors a program, Healing Arts, which integrates art into healing at the Castle Rock Adventist Hospital.

A dedicated gallery is located on the corridor that connects the hospital's medical building with the core area, according to Jude Keller, who works with the community artists, as does artist Mary Williams of Castle Pines, who coordinates exhibits in the other Adventist hospitals in the area — Littleton, Parker and Porter.

The goal in integrating the arts into health care is “creating an environment not just to treat illness, but to provide an inspiration for living … From music to massage, to paintings and sculptures, the Healing Arts Program offers many expressions of art to create a healing environment for our patients and their families, our staff and the community,” says a statement describing the program.

Keller said the Parker Adventist Hospital also has an art gallery in its cancer care center that has an impact. “We need to be so sensitive to help people on this journey,” Keller said. She added that certified therapeutic practitioners, music therapists, visit patients in their rooms. There is clinical evidence that this helps with pain and anxiety. Light massage of hands and feet is also soothing.

A report from Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center expands on the usefulness of art in healing. “In the late 1800s, Florence Nightingale wrote, `Little as we know about the way we are affected by form, by color and light, we do know this, they have an actual physical effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to the patient are an actual means of recovery,' her paper reports …”

Today, the arts are once again being considered an integral component in the care of patients in health care facilities across the nation. Health care providers understand that caring for a patient goes well beyond the physical and encompasses mental and spiritual health as well. Patients who see nature scenes in a painting, a photograph or out the window have less anxiety and request less pain medication and had a quicker post-operative recovery time.

Families and caregivers are also helped by exposure to art and nature. Keller said there is a nurse who starts her day by visiting the art gallery in Castle Rock.

”When people are relaxed and receptive, they place themselves in the best possible state of mind and spirit for medicine to do its work,” said the Massachusetts General piece.

A new exhibit, opening with a 5 to 7 p.m. reception on Oct. 6, shows work by watercolorist Cindy Welch of Castle Rock. “Castle Rock's Iconic Landmarks” is Welch's title for her exhibit, which includes watercolor images of a number of the community's historic buildings. (She also sells color prints of those images.)

And the artist gains a positive feeling from knowing that her/his art is giving others a needed lift in spirits.

Preceding Welch's exhibit was one by local high school artists. Next will be colorful abstract works by painter Elaine Asarch: “Healing with Color.”

The gallery at Castle Rock Hospital, 2350 Meadows Blvd., is open to the public, as are exhibits at other Adventist hospitals. Ask at the information desk for the locations of art. (Littleton Hospital has some impressive large sculptural works outside on the grounds, including near the ER entrance.)

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