Art Enhances Health Program

art enhances health photo
NHRMC Foundation and Cameron Art Museum have partnered to create Art Enhances Health, a unique pilot program supporting cancer patients and survivors on their journey to recovery.
This program offers a free six-week creative writing and art-making series of classes for 10 current NHRMC Zimmer Cancer patients and cancer survivors who completed treatment up to 1 year ago. 
The class, which is set to start Oct. 18, includes gallery visits, creative writing, art-making, and mindful meditation.  The program is designed to use art as a tool to help improve the mental health and emotional well-being of participants.  “Our goal is to provide patients with a unique outlet to express emotions related to the overwhelming experience that they’ve been through as they’ve undergone cancer treatment or have survived the disease,” said Sarah Arthur, NHRMC’s manager of Community Engagement. 
Arthur said art can help relieve and distract from pain and helps to control anxiety and depression, which many cancer patients face. “While expressive writing has been known to improve emotional and physical health, it’s a fairly novel idea to integrate it as an option throughout cancer treatment and show its effectiveness in improving resilience on this patient population.”
Deputy Director of Cameron Art Museum Heather Wilson, who is a trained expressive writing facilitator, will lead the class and work with Donna Moore, a visual artist. “There is a direct connection between art and healing,” Wilson said. “This class will combine creating art, writing, viewing art and mindfulness mediation as a way to promote resilience and stress reduction.”
Wilson said participants will be able to relax in the galleries, practice meditation and breathwork, and then write and create art.  “Our hope is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that is a respite for patients and survivors,” Wilson said.  “We know that participation in art and writing improves quality of life and helps to relieve stress in really wonderful ways.”
Participants will explore six different types of writing for healing and transformation, journal making, collaging, print making and clay.
No experience is required to participate in the class. Participants must be vaccinated.
Through the partnership between NHRMC Foundation and CAM, free 1-year membership to the Cameron Art Museum will be offered to patients of Zimmer Cancer Center “We truly believe that the museum can be a sanctuary and place of respite and healing for patients, caregivers, and their families,” Wilson said.
For more information about the program, contact Melissa Johnson, MSW, Oncology Social Worker at [email protected] or 910-667-3412