The Arts play a decisive role in promoting health
The Weems Memorial Arts in Medicine program was founded in 2009 through a partnership grant with the University of Florida Arts in Medicine (AIM) program at Shands Hospital and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Weems AIM is a multidisciplinary organization, with programs in the visual, literary, musical and performance arts. Like the Shands program, the Weems Arts in Medicine Program is focused on transforming healthcare environments through the arts, and providing leadership for arts in healthcare through-out Franklin County.
An essential component of Weems’ Arts in Medicine mission is to create collaborations with other hospital departments, community arts organizations and groups within the county. These collaborations spark projects that move the message of art and wellness to a broader audience. We see art as a basic tool for connection and cooperation between all human beings as well as an integral part of the healing process. Currently, the Arts in Medicine Program partners with many groups that serve elderly, seriously sick or disabled folks in Franklin County to provide art therapy in a healing environment.
GENERAL PROGRAM INFORMATION
Do you pay your artists?
YES! Consistency is the key to program growth, and committing to artists through payment builds that consistency. Our artists are considered outside contractors.
Do your artists attend an orientation?
Yes. It is critical that the hospital be comfortable with the artists who represent the program and visit it's patients. One important step in that process in being “in compliance” with hospital regulations. Each artist attends an annual hospital orientation and receives a certificate of compliance from Safety and Security and Infection Control. Artists also attend scheduled workshops to stay up to speed with each other and brainstorm about the program’s direction.
How do you find your artists?
We routinely conduct “call to artists” through-out the community to find out who is interested. These meetings take the form of experiential and informative workshops, which create a ground swell of interest. From that effort, a few artists volunteer and join the core of our program. Additionally, word-of-mouth recommendations provide outstanding new talent.
There is clear evidence that a patient's physical wellbeing is linked to their emotional and spiritual wellbeing and that the expressive arts can play a decisive role in promoting overall health. The Weems Arts in Medicine Program features hands-on arts projects for children and adults, colorful paintings and sculptures throughout the hospital as well as diverse arts performances to assist in the healing process. The four areas of healing include Visual Arts, Performance Arts, Literary Arts and Mind/Body Healing.
The Visual Arts
Visual artists in residence and visual artist volunteers bring the creative arts to patients, families and staff through painting, drawing, collage, photography, ceramics and crafts. Pediatric and adult patients are able to experience the visual arts individually at the bedside, or gather together in workshops under the guidance of trained artists and volunteers. Examples of Visual Arts Programs include paper- making for personal books and using photographs that rekindle pleasant memories of patients.
The Literary Arts
As humans we tend to make sense of experience through writing and reading. In books, poems, movies, and songs, we frame our joys and sorrows in words. Since research shows that writing engenders healing, healthcare settings are an ideal place to utilize the literary arts. Arts in Medicine writers in residence encourage patients, family members, staff and medical students to explore creative expression through poetry, short essay, oral history, letters and journal entries. By sharing words, community is created. Whether patient, student, or seasoned practitioner, no one is left alone in challenging terrain. Examples of literary arts programs include reading aloud from books and orally interpreting poetry.
Mind & Body Renewal Programs
The Mind and Body Renewal Programs (MBR) offer a reprieve from the busy schedule of care giving, work or patient stress. Time out for meditation, relaxation, a massage or just a few relaxed breaths can make a difference in the hearts, minds and bodies of those who are able to participate in our MBR programs. Examples of MBR programs include simple dance and yoga movements.
The Performing Arts
The Weems AIM Program is patterned after national models for hospital based performing arts. Bringing dancers, musicians, actors and other performance based artists to the bedside, these programs engage patients and stimulate the environment of care in unexpected ways for the healthcare staff. Each week, any area of the hospital or clinical setting is transformed into a performance location - lobbies, waiting rooms, clinical hallways and even patient rooms become the stage for artists to inspire and enthrall patients, family members, visitors, and staff. Examples of performance programs include the playing of musical instruments and Playback Theatre.
You do not have to be an accomplished artist to make a difference in the lives of patients. The Arts in Medicine Program registers student and community volunteers at all skill levels. Arts in Medicine volunteers have direct contact with pediatric or adult patients using all types of art disciplines. Most volunteers assist Artists in Residence with regularly scheduled group activities called "Workshops" for patients, family members and staff. Other, more experienced volunteers shadow Artists in Residence and answer patient requests and staff referrals, visiting with patients at their bedsides. AIM Artists in Residence are versed in a variety of media including visual arts, music, dance, theater, creative writing, guided imagery and more! If you choose to become a volunteer, our volunteer coordinator will assist you in finding your niche. To volunteer, contact the Weems Arts in Medicine office at Weems Hospital at 135 Avenue G in Apalachicola or e-mail the volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.