Today thanks to St George TAFE School of Fine Arts and especially Thanks to Chris Casali a group of us got an intro to an amazing and beautiful project that acknowledges that being in hospital is tough and that art can help.
Arterie@RPA uses art therapy and art projects to help at least distract people from difficulties of their discomforts, pain and powerlessness of being in hospital. They do this in a number of ways.
- The art is used both to provide direct therapy in the sense of art helping people with their healing process. For example helping stroke victims with redeveloping fine motor coordination. Or to help re-establish (or slow the deterioration of) thinking and problem solving from acquire brain injuries, dementia and stroke.
- Then they have Artists in Residence (AIR) who do art on the walls and share their process in public for three weeks. This helps break up the boredom, providing interesting experiences for patients, carers, family and staff. And a beautiful environment for everyone including staff.
- There are the travelling art helpers as part of “Carterie”. Volunteers and paid staff take carts around with art supplies and a variety of themes and materials that spark conversations and collaborations that also distract, but also help patients and carers manage the stress of the hospital life.
- There are workshops in a central area for patients, carers and staff that basically allow them to socialise and feel empowered and supported emotionally. Some also help people to communicate across the whole range social backgrounds.
This project and its processes is such a beautiful modern and advanced health practice. It acknowledges the importance of mind in the healing process in away that goes beyond older ideas of psychology as separate to physiology, as individuals being separate to their environment.
On this visit we were given presentations by staff of the information above, then we were taken on a tour around the hospital showing displays of the results of various Artists In Residence projects and some of the carterie collaborations with patients and carers. Then we participated in a project to create 150 canvas tiles to decorate a rehab exercise area in blue, green aqua and white.