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 Indian Summer. Vermont often enjoys a “grace” period between summer and fall that celebrates the flowers just showing their seed petticoats, the light changing to a cooler shade, the rich greens starting to dry and hint at a rustling in the breezes. The inevitable rhythms of nature provide so much material to ponder and work with in the human experience.