KDH art exhibit brings
hope and healing to patients, visitors
Lance’s story illustrates
how art has promoted healing
(December 2014) – Most studies confirm what artists long have known. Art brings hope and healing to people who are in pain both physically and emotionally. Art can help reduce the brain’s reaction to pain, stress and anxiety.
British photographer Julia Cameron put it well when she said, “Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing.”
Photo by Alice Jane Smith
Rod Lance’s painting won
2013 Best of Show at the
Regional Fall Art Show sponsored
by the Madison Art Club.
Since its opening last year, “The Art of Healing” exhibit at King’s Daughters’ Hospital in Madison, Ind., has been popular with the community, according to Teresa Waller, secretary of the Madison Art Club.
It has brightened the walls of the new hospital, lifted the spirits of patients and visitors, benefitted participating artists, and generated excitement.
The story of Rod Lance, 63, of Carmel, Ind., epitomizes the spirit of the current exhibit. Lance entered his award-winning watercolor, “Madison House.” Since he started painting in 2009, his art has helped him heal from a personal ordeal the day after Christmas that same year.
Lance is reluctant to talk about the incident. In fact, he didn’t even mention it the first time he submitted biographical information for the show. Somehow, his biography was lost. When asked to resubmit biographical material, he considered that the show “has something to do with healing.” So he wrote, “Painting has been part of the healing process for me after being shot and robbed Dec. 26, 2009. I am honored and blessed for the opportunity to show my work.”
Photo by Alice Jane Smith
Rod Lance’s “Potter’s Bridge” won “Work of Distinction” this year.
Easing the Pain
While taking a walk early in the morning, Lance heard gunshots in the distance. Then he saw a car coming down the road with “a guy hanging out of the car and he shot me.” While in prayer, Lance “felt like I was protected, and the fear went away.” Despite bruising and internal injuries, he healed quickly. One week later, he learned from police that someone was trying to kill him. He moved from South Bend to the Indianapolis area and started painting in earnest. He took classes from Irina Smulevitch at the Indianapolis Art Center.
“It ended up being a positive for me,” he said. “I feel God was trying to shake me up, and I’m a better person for it. I started going to church and reading the Bible.”
At one time, Lance worked in the Madison area and painted images there. Now he paints all over, mainly using landscapes and buildings as his subject matter. In January, he plans to move to French Lick.
In 2013, he won “Best of Show” in the Regional Art Competition sponsored by the Madison Art Club. It was for “Madison House,” the watercolor now on display at the hospital. He also won “Best of Watercolor” for “Garage Doors” in the same competition. This year, he won “Work of Distinction” for his watercolor, “Potter’s Bridge.”
Currently, watercolors, paintings and photographs by 13 artists are on display at the Seasons’ Café, along with biographical information. In addition to Lance, artists currently represented at the “Art of Healing” exhibit are Jay Benzing, Sunny Burton, Kathie Dalton, Harry Elburg, Wanda Jackson, Lou Knoble, Linda Wood, Belva Lowry, Alice Banet Ramsby, Shirley Smith, Theresa Strohl and Patty Cooper Wells.
In January 2015, the fourth rotating exhibit will open at the cafe. Area artists have been invited to submit up to three pieces of work. Dec. 21 is the deadline to hand-deliver work to Art on Main at 309 W. Main St., Madison. Twenty-one pieces of art will be selected for the next show by the hospital’s committee, comprised of Carol Dozier, the chief executive officer of the hospital; Lisa Morgan and Robert Feltner.
“The Art of Healing” exhibits evolved over a two-year period, according to Waller. Board members of the Madison Art Club talked with the two design firms for the new hospital, the Medical Arts Building and with hospital employees on the design team for the new facilities. The overall goal was to incorporate regional artwork into the design of the hospital and the medical arts building.
There is a lot of science and evidence of the healing power of art in a healthcare setting, Waller said. “Our excitement grew as we understood how this project would benefit not only the artists, whose work would be purchased, but the patients and even the employees of King’s Daughters’ Hospital. And, given the shared missions of these two non-profit organizations, we all felt it was a win-win.”
“We were all disappointed when there was no money available to buy art for either of the facilities,” Waller said. “Most everyone comments on the absence of artwork on the walls of the hospital and the medical arts building. The question became, ‘what can we do about it?’”
“Our opportunity came when Carol Dozier took the helm as chief executive officer of the hospital,” Waller said. “She immediately noticed the blank walls, and her inquiries led her back to the Madison Art Club”
Enthusiasm was reignited after a brief meeting with Art Club President Mary Jo O’Connor and Waller. “Carol (Dozier) had experience in healthcare-based art programs and was familiar with the evidence-based benefits of such programs. Her experience and enthusiasm, as well as her willingness to be personally involved in the project, made all the difference in the success of bringing local artwork to the walls of King’s Daughters’ Hospital.”
Lack of funds still was a challenge. The team could get started by exhibiting artwork in a high-traffic, secure space. “The obvious choice was the Seasons Café, located off the hospital lobby and immediately visible as you walk in the front door of the hospital,” Waller said. The artwork would be offered for sale, which would benefit the artists. “The sudden presence of the colorful images immediately improved the environment of the café and enhanced the calming colors of the interior design,” according to Waller.
“Although the exhibit is not a permanent solution, we all feel it’s a step in the right direction,” Waller said. “Now everyone sees and appreciates the presence of the artwork in the café.”
She added, “The question becomes ‘how can we spread this throughout the rest of the buildings?’ There is no easy answer, but there is a lot of interest and from that, we feel that solutions will evolve over time.”
Talks continue about how to develop an art collection at the hospital through fundraising and corporation and private gifts.
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