Artist in Chemotherapy Room. New England Cancer Specialists Maine
Artist in Chemotherapy Room. New England Cancer Specialists Maine. Contemporary Maine Painter and Citizen Scientist, Erin McGee Ferrell, with Maine Arts Commission authors project bringing patients LIVE art to health treatments. www.ArtistAMERICAN.com, Artist Craftman’s Supply, National Organization for Arts in Health.
Weeks One and Two
For Immediate Release (February 7, 2018).
written by Oliver Payne.
Victoria Foley, NECS Director of Marketing. email@example.com
New England Cancer Specialists Hosts Working Artist
at Kennebunk Location Through Maine Arts Commission Grant
Scarborough, ME – New England Cancer Specialists (NECS), the region’s largest medical oncology group, is hosting professional painter, Erin McGee Ferrell (ArtistAMERICAN.com) at its Kennebunk location each Wednesday afternoon for eight weeks through March 21, 2018. The project, which is funded by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission and Artist and Craftsmen Supply, is designed to assess the impact on medical facility patients and staff of an artist working in their midst.
After her first session, on January 24th, Ferrell reported, “Among the nine people I surveyed today, the majority said that watching me paint was a positive distraction from receiving the chemo treatments.”
“We are excited to bring this project to NECS for the benefit of our patients, staff and community,” said Steve D’Amato, Executive Director of NECS. “Our patients and their loved ones are going through a lot when they walk through our doors, so we try to do whatever we can to make their days brighter and a little less stressful. Ms. Ferrell’s work appears to do just that, based on her first session.”
“I have often placed big paintings on medical walls to distract patients from pain,” Ferrell notes, “but this project is more about the response to my working in the space than the paintings themselves. I am surveying anyone who happens to be in the infusion area of NECS Kennebunk and is willing to participate—patients and their supporters, employees, and others—and am comparing the results with my long experience painting in public on the streets.” Ferrell has received guidance on the project from her research partner, social psychologist Betsy Parks-Stamm, PhD, and two board members of The National Organization for Arts in Health (theNoah.net).
Ferrell’s residency is part of a pilot project designed to look at active verses passive visual art in the Health Care Environment. Traditionally, people think of art playing a passive role on the walls of hospitals and in therapy programs. More recently, active visual artists have been shown to alter environments in a way that improves the patient experience, decreases anxiety and fosters community-building. Ferrell’s goal is to further research and document more opportunities for collaboration between the arts and healthcare.
For more information about the live artist project or NECS, please contact Victoria Foley, NECS Director of Marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-303-3225.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS IN THIS PROJECT:
New England Cancer Specialists (NECS) is an independent medical oncology group with nearly half of Maine’s board-certified medical oncologists on the team. The physicians at NECS are nationally recognized for their expertise and experience, and they participate in more clinical trials than any other practice in Maine. NECS providers are often the first to offer leading-edge protocols and drug treatments based on the latest research. By partnering with physicians across the state and with many Boston hospitals, they aim to further increase the availability of and access to these novel cancer therapeutics and programmatic advancements. For more information, visit http://www.newenglandcancerspecialists.org/.
Erin McGee Ferrell has been a professional artist for 25 years. A two-time cancer survivor based in Falmouth, Maine, she often works in public places where onlookers collaborate in her creative process. Among her many works are large 2-D mixed media installations for corporate and healthcare facilities, and urban architectural oil paintings from the streets of Portland, ME and Philadelphia, PA. Represented in Maine by the Venn and Maker Gallery of Portland, she is nationally recognized and collected by numerous institutions and individuals. For more information, visit http://www.artistamerican.com/.
The Maine Arts Commission is an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Artist and Craftsmen Supply is a Portland retailer of art materials and supplies.
Erin’s FAVORITE Quotes and initial observations from the first two weeks of the project:
“I got more accomplished today than just housework (and Chemo), I signed my name on a painting.” Patient. (Week Two)
1. What Patients seemed to really enjoy was watching nurses, social workers, patients and their patient supports who all said, “I can’t paint,” pick up a brush and join the project. So much laughter! The remarkable thing was that the patients who were actively undergoing Chemo were encouraging all the people trying to paint. Lots of, “give it a try! You can do it! You have nothing to lose! It looks great!” The ones who needs the most support were offering it to those around themselves!
2. Sharing stories: While the cluster of patients, staff ect was gathered people were talking and sharing stories.
“Yes, I served in the army in Korea too.”
“I itch sometimes after also.”
“Oh you know Greg from that little store in….., we went to school together.”
“My daughter knows her….”
3. Patients across the room who weren’t participating actively seemed to be affected. A patient supports wife across the room receiving Chemo was enjoying that her husband who usually walked around bored was actively painting. We brought the painting over to show her the parts that he painted. Other patients could hear the laughter, conversation, cheering, and they commented that it “uplifted to usual somber environment.”
4. I think the best role I can play is to provide a subject (such as vase of fresh tulips), introduce myself, create a large drawing with sumi ink stick (Bold, good composition), and then get others to paint in the colors. I guide the participants to explore wetting the paper and dripping ink and brushes of watercolor (wet in Wet) to wonder at the organic and uncontrolled spreading of colors into each other.
I’m encouraging exploring and play. Let’s see what happens when we drip in this color. What’s the contrasting color to blue to make this vase “pop.” There are no mistakes..we can fix what we don’t want to be there later. The drips can add beauty.
My army patient observed that all the drips coming from my sumi ink sketch reminded him of a spring rain.
5. Patients wanted to fill out surveys and sign there names to the painting. They all signed themselves except for one patient who couldn’t use his hands and the social worker signed for him with a balloon next to his name because it was his birthday that day.
6. Patients rescheduled their chemo the following times to when I would be coming next.
7. Robin Colby, the head nurse told me that the patients stayed beyond their Chemo time to finish watching the painting.
8. The painting was completed by me adding a layer of micro sharpie lines to adhere the piece. When I had finished I asked the patient near me if she thought it was completed. She asked me to add an additional tulip in a blank space and then asked me to paint it pink. I did both, she then added her name.
Erin McGee Ferrell