Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
Below is an article from NBC.com regarding the effect visual art has on the healing process in hospitals. To someone not involved in the Arts, this finding may come as something of a surprise. The general perception of the experience of Art is that it’s pleasurable, yes, entertaining, perhaps, but providing a tangible benefit to our lives? Maybe not so much. For artists, this is the most obvious thing in the world – of course the Arts are necessary and fundamental to the human spirit. The ‘discovery’ of quantitative physiological benefits lends further credence to an idea we’ve probably all intrinsically held most of our lives.
The question is, of course: what now? Now that we’ve found incontrovertible proof that the Arts (at least the visual Arts) help in the healing process, what is to be done? Should research be developed to test how theater, music, and dance affect healing? What about the experience of making art? Does that have quantitative benefits to the human body? And on top of all of this, even if we know now the importance of Arts in the healing space, how in the world do we the raise the money to make this a priority?
To me, the issue of Arts and Healing is particularly pertinent when applied to veteran’s care. I’ve seen the effects a good piece of theater can have on a group of Iraq vets – it is real, and tangible, and vital. Can it be measured? Should it be? It heartens me to know that the health care community is starting to address these questions and take the matter seriously. However, as this article points out, we have a long way to go yet.