Monday, October 23, 2017

The Healing Power of Art

Sometimes I wonder whether people notice the positive impact that art can make in a life.  And then along comes a story on the nightly news that attests to that healing power of art, and that story becomes a wonderful bit of advocacy for the arts.

A couple of nights ago, I saw such a story on NBC nightly news that I want to share with my readers here on this blog.  In the pediatric ward at Utah Valley Hospital, a nurse started drawing cartoons on the windows of his young patients.  Other nurses saw how meaningful it was to the young patients and also began drawing on windows.  (These are not trained artists; they are just nurses who are bringing joy to their young patients.)  But I don't know why I'm trying to tell you the story when you can view it  yourself. Here's a link to the news story.

In this video clip, seeing the joy on an ill child's face, and seeing the child get out of bed to join the nurse/artist at the window with a marker is an incredible testament to the power of art.

Many years ago, when I was a young high school art teacher, teaching darkroom photography, one of my most devoted photo students was stricken with his second bout of cancer and his prognosis was not good.  In the hospital, surrounded by children dealing with cancer, and friends losing their battles, my student found joy in using his camera to record what he felt and saw.  He never missed handing in a portfolio for a grade, and his photos were moving works of art/journalism.  Photography had a healing power for this boy.  Against all odds, not only did he unexpectedly survive, he graduated from high school, went to and graduated from RIT and opened a photography studio.

For those of us who are art educators, how many of us, if we investigate what happens to our students after they leave our our programs, will find that participating in the arts in one way or another has provided some healing in their life?  Or how many of our former students will find themselves moved or inspired or motivated by art created by someone else for their benefit (as in this news story)?

Art is indeed a superpower!!

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