For patients, arts program helps heal the spirit

July 5, 2012 5:43 AM

Melanie N. Cross

Through the Tulane Cancer Center’s Arts in Medicine program, patients and their caregivers have a way to relieve stress and anxiety by participating in arts-related workshops, events and live performances.

Art in Medicine

Wine glasses decorated by Tulane Medical Center patients, caregivers and staff members will be sold at the Hope-colored Glasses fundraiser on July 12 to benefit the Arts in Medicine program. (Photo by Becki Kula)

“It allows them to forget their illness for a few minutes and to share creative experiences in a healing community,” says program coordinator Becki Kula. “It’s about picking up where medicine leaves off and truly helping our patients’ spirits to heal.”

Kula has been spearheading the program since May 2010, and it has grown tremendously. Arts in Medicine got its start in the cancer center’s Patricia Trost Friedler Center for Psychosocial Oncology, providing programs in the arts for cancer patients, caregivers and their families.  Now it is offered to patients across Tulane Medical Center.  

In its first year, Arts in Medicine served approximately 934 participants. Just six months into its second year, that number has nearly doubled. The number and types of programming it offers also have grown.  

“We started with events and activities related mostly to the visual arts,” says Kula, “but we’ve expanded to include music therapy sessions and lessons, sing-alongs, pediatric playroom activities, laughter yoga and hospital beautification projects.”  

Future programs will include a new mural for the Tulane Hospital for Children; Art Outdoors, a program to provide arts-related outdoor activities for pediatric patients; and live music in the Tulane Cancer Center waiting areas.

On July 12, the Tulane Cancer Center will host Hope-colored Glasses, a fundraiser benefiting the Arts in Medicine program. At the event, wine glasses that have been hand-painted by patients, caregivers and staff members will be sold or auctioned off to raise funds for the program.

Tickets to the event cost $25, and each provides a voucher for one of the hand-painted wine glasses.  Glasses will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Melanie Cross is manager of communications at the Tulane Cancer Center.


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