New Visual Arts collaboration with local oncology unit to pilot this fall

Megan Hildebrandt
April 6, 2016

The Aesthetics of Health Course: Look for an exciting new arts outreach course for VA majors this fall!

Interlochen Arts Academy will partner with the Cowell Family Cancer Center at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Michigan, to explore the intersection of arts education and health care through three ongoing activities:

  1. The Art of Looking: Visual Storytelling and Observational Skills

  2. Arts at the Cowell

  3. Production of a Collaborative, Interactive Work of Art

“The Art of Looking” will be a series of observation training workshops for health care staff and caregivers. Visual arts instructors and students will lead these programs at least twice per semester. Topics will include: visual storytelling/looking; listening; empathy; arts-based research; experience of portraiture in a clinical setting; and medical humanities.

“Arts at the Cowell” will be a monthly art-making group for oncology patients and their caregivers and families. Visual arts instructors and students will co-lead this project, with occasional help from Great Lakes Children’s Museum staff. These will be drop-in activities, as these parties sometimes wait for eight hours or more in sterile hospitals with little engagement.

“Production of a Collaborative, Interactive Work of Art” is central to cementing and growing Interlochen’s collaborative relationship with the Cowell. Visual arts students and the Cowell community will create a large-scale installation at least once during this partnership. The Cowell and the Great Lakes Children’s Museum will each exhibit the piece. Open to all ages, these projects will be abstract, but intuitive; not skills based; interactive and durable; and educational—not just distracting. The artwork will engage the body as a whole and be accessible to those with disabilities.