This last week we attended an event held at the Duane Reed Gallery in the Central West End. Approximately 500 people came to celebrate the art work of 36 cancer patients. It is an opportunity for cancer patients to express their feelings in an art medium and as expected, some of the work was joyful and some sad. All this original art was created by cancer survivors who participated in the Arts as Healing Program at the Siteman Cancer Center.
“Arts as Healing” was started by our friend Vicki Friedman who is Director of Medical Art at Washington University School of Medicine and a breast cancer survivor. “Arts as Healing” is an innovative program designed to give cancer patients an opportunity for self-exploration and self-expression through artistic endeavors. This provides a creative outlet for conveying very complex emotions. Although each patient has unique feelings, some of the art work is collaborative and being able to work with other patients on a single project has a powerful uniting affect on the participants. The strength received from other cancer patients is very helpful as the patient works on the road to being a “cancer survivor.” We have seen this in our own practice as many “cancer survivors” have helped newly diagnosed patients make it through the initial struggles dealing with the diagnosis and treatments. One of our breast cancer survivors responded to a phone call by meeting a newly diagnosed patient for coffee at Steak and Shake at 2 AM because “it could not wait till the morning.”
“Arts as Healing” is supported entirely by gracious gifts and donations. You may contact our friend Vicki at 314.362.3320 or firstname.lastname@example.org