Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
The wise words of Helen Keller, who knew first-hand what it meant to overcome adversity, have great meaning as we peer through the lens of healthcare. Alone, children or teenagers coping with chronic and life threatening illness may feel scared, isolated, or hopeless. But, when a team of people – including their families, physicians, nurses, social workers, Child Life specialists, guest service specialists, volunteers, artists in residence, and arts therapists – come together to support these patients, anything becomes possible.
Patient’s artistic creations are no exception. The arts are an accessible way for people to find meaning within their hospitalization. Creative expression offers opportunities for joy, legacy building, storytelling, empowerment and inspiration.
Art therapy uses visual art media and the creative process to help patients cope with difficult situations and explore their personal thoughts and feelings. As an art therapist, Amy Bucciarelli considers herself to be a guide pointing patients towards the tools that open their creative potential and tap into their ability for authentic self-expression. The tangible nature of art making transmits meaning in a way that can be universally experienced. Through their art we can understand their world. The art is a vehicle that transcends the limits of illness and offers children, teenagers, and young adults a sense of purpose well beyond their years.
In a pediatric medical setting, a primary goal of art therapy is to offer participants a sense of mastery and meaning as they journey through illness. Amy’s favorite work as an art therapist happens when she is able to collaborate with her colleagues outside of art therapy. When they are able to combine the safe container of the art therapy session with the expertise that another artist, musician, writer, or clinician offers, a patient experiences a palate of specialized tools that are expansive and accessible. Each piece in Collaborations tells a unique story about a patient’s wild-idea that evolved into an artistic reality. The exceptional skills of many different clinicians and artists working together helped these patients bring forth their creative dreams in Collaborations.
Collaborations will be on display in the Criser Cancer Resource Center September 14-October 23, 2015. Please join us for an art reception on September 24th from 4-6pm.