Nature as Medicine

Nature as Medicine Art Exhibit and Opening Reception

In partnership with the UF Health Science Center Libraries and College of Medicine Medical Humanities, UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine proudly presents nature photography by UF medical student Colleen Cowdery. Colleen’s images capture the beauty and wonderment of some of our surrounding green spaces, and encourage us all to explore mindfulness through our rich natural world.

When: Opening Reception will be January 9th, 2020 from 4pm-6pm; the exhibit will be on display from January 6th-31st, 2020 M-F 9am-5pm
Where: Criser Cancer Resource Center, RM 1302
1515 SW Archer Rd
Gainesville, FL 32608

Free and open to all

Image by Colleen Cowdery

Artist’s Statement

Nature as Medicine: Mindfulness in the green spaces of Gainesville

Mindfulness (noun): a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
The majority of people today spend their lives in the midst of the crowded and endlessly activated modern world- a world with many, many perks, but also one that resists all attempts to carve out the space needed to relax in peace. For my part, I have always found this peace in the outdoors. There is something intensely personal about taking a walk through a quiet patch of woods, or watching the sun rise, or even sitting still and watching some small part of the world carry on its business, oblivious to the existence of anything beyond the immediate moment.
The photographs selected for this show hold a two-fold purpose. Firstly, they represent an attempt at showing some small piece of the joy and peace I find in my time outside. Secondly, this show aims to widen the recognition of the parks available to patients, family, and staff within the UF Health system. The hospital can be an extraordinarily stressful environment and it can be difficult to find the time and space to unpack the often intensely emotional experiences that may occur.
All the pictures used in this show were taken in parks and public land within Alachua County; many within a few minutes of the hospital itself. I encourage you to visit these places, either with your family or with only yourself for company. Spend a moment of your time to pause and feel your skin be warmed by the sun or chilled by wind; take notice of the world around you and offer your mind the break that it deserves