Ms. Blanchard is an artist living and working in Shelburne, Vermont; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The very act of walking through hospital doors takes many people away from their comfort zone of predictability, into a vulnerable state of uncertainty. When entering a building, most people immediately recognize a space that inspires confidence and trust. Whether one is on the giving or receiving end of health care, the inherent risk around personal health can provoke loaded, challenging, stressful thoughts. A positive impression makes a difference.
There are few places where art has capacity to impact people more than in a health care facility. People must process deeper and more significant thoughts when faced with medical interventions. By designing a welcoming environment filled with art that is both contemplative and inspirational, an “enlightened” health care space can support and relieve emotional stressors.
When a person has the opportunity to look at and connect with art, a private internal exploration occurs. Perhaps an unnamed fear or unvoiced question surfaces in the exchange. Perhaps a memory is awakened or a love remembered that brings healing to the moment. This exchange can be powerful and meaningful in a nonlinear, nonverbal way. Art can shift one’s health care experience to a more positive sense of well-being and can support greater healing. Many health care facilities are including art as a part of the healing solution, and I have been fortunate to display my own artwork in the health care setting.
The piece featured on this month’s cover is from the series Promise of Summer. The monoprints were inspired by the longing for summer after a seemingly never-ending cold, dark winter and relentlessly wet spring. Even though we humans could not go out to the garden and play during this dreary time, the cedar wax wings returned north, the bleeding hearts budded, and a lush green began to spread over the hills. As I made art in my studio waiting for summer, I was struck by the power of nature to regenerate and renew, in spite of harsh conditions. I was again reminded of nature’s tenacious power to bring healing in the environment and in the human body.