Artist in Cancer Center. Maine Arts Commission Award
Artist in Cancer Center. Maine Arts Commission Award. Erin McGee Ferrell Granted Arts Health Care Initiative. Altering Environment. ArtistAmerican.com
“I will spend 8 weeks as a LIVE artist with the New England Cancer Specialists. This project will be carried out in the Brunswick and Kennebunk Office locations February and March 2018 under Executive Director Steve D’Amato. My observations made from painting in public on the streets for twenty five years as a professional artist can be directly compared/ contrasted and surveyed in the Chemotherapy Infusion Treatment Center.” Erin McGee Ferrell
Funded in part by a grant from The Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
This project will receive guidance from Claire de Boer, Vice President of The National Organization of Arts in Health
This project will receive guidance from Jill Sonke, Director, Center for Arts in Medicine, University of Florida.
“This pilot project is designed to look at active verses passive visual art in the Health Care Environment. At this time art can be found in hospitals on walls and in therapy programs. Active visual artists:
1. Alter environments and improve the patient experience.
2. Decrease anxiety
3. Foster Community Building
This project will allow me to research and document more opportunities for collaboration between the arts and Health.
Watching a LIVE Artist in the Hospital ER waiting room expands upon my previous Pecha Kucha from the 2015 Global Alliance for Arts and Health in Houston, Texas, “The LIVE Artist in the Hospital Lobby.” After two years of continuing to paint in variety of public spaces my observations of outcomes remain the same. Live Artists alter environments, induce relaxation, and create spontaneous community. The artist creating alters the environment from one of fear and anxiety to one of engaged curiosity. The presence of the active artist induces relaxation for those who watch. Spontaneous community occurs around the artist. Patients and families talk with each other.
Related Research Articles:
The National Endowment for the Arts Guide to Community-Engaged Research in the Arts and Health: https://www.arts.gov/publications/national-endowment-arts-guide-community-engaged-research-arts-and-health
The working visual artist in the Hospital ER Waiting Room alters the environment, induces relaxation, and creates spontaneous Community.
1. Watching an artist create while sitting in an ER waiting room induces relaxation in patients and their families.
2. Having an artist creating in the ER waiting room alters the stressful environment.
3. Spontaneous Community forms around the active artist, bridging strangers of all ethnicity.
4. Reinforces the Artist’s role as an active verses passive healer in Health Care Environments
Over the past two years I have worked with Maine’s refugee communities. Whole Foods Market Maine sponsored my Art/ Urban Garden initiative bridging diverse economic communities using visual art. My family has provided a home for two Sudanese children of a refugee mother for the past year. My experience in medical and health clinics with the children and also within the refugee community places me in direct engagement with this population group and their eyes into the health care environment.
My work as a professional artist and educator has spanned twenty five years. The experience I have renders me comfortable in all mediums and practices of Visual Art Creating.
In the Chemotherapy Infusion Treatment Environment I will sit with an easel and paint in watercolors. Patients and their caregivers will have the opportunity to watch and engage with me or not. I will paint from still life or take subject requests from observers. I speaking with friends who have received Chemo I understand that a variable in the experience could be the number of treatments received. I will be observing and asking patients and caregivers, interested in participating, their level of engagement and reactions to the active painter.
Data from participants surveyed will possibly be presented at the North American Organization for Arts in Healthcare Conference September 2018 in Austin, Texas as well to Maine Arts Commission. The project will be artistically strong in the renderings of the watercolors, demonstrative in professionalism in the healthcare environment, and thoughtful in the documentation and presentation of this research.