Popular Combat Paper workshops return to Herron School of Art and Design in November

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Paper making at a combat paper workshop Image courtesy of Combat Paper project

This November, Drew Cameron will return to Herron School of Art and Design with his internationally successful Combat Paper workshops, where veterans or anyone touched by war may bring uniforms or other cloth to be turned into paper and then made into works of art.

Established in 2007, the Combat Paper Project has grown from its San Francisco base to an international phenomenon that has helped to heal war-torn people from Canada to Kosovo.

In his own post-combat search for meaning, Cameron, the project’s co-founder, discovered that papermaking could be a transformative process that broadens “the traditional narrative surrounding the military experience and warfare.” The workshops are returning to Indiana at the urging of Juliet King, director of Herron School of Art and Design’s Art Therapy Program.

With the support of faculty and students from bookbinding, other fine arts programs and art therapy, the workshops will take place on Thursday and Friday, November 6 and 7, at the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center, 1410 Indiana Avenue, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Attendance is free, but reservations are required. Anyone interested in attending the workshops may reserve a seat by contacting Juliet King at kingjul@iupui.edu or 317-278-5466 by October 30.

Cameron also will be providing a lecture series to graduate art therapy students where they will engage in an interactive discussion on the similarities and differences between therapeutic art experiences such as Combat Paper and the clinical profession of art therapy.

More Hospitals Use the Healing Powers of Public Art

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‘Mike Kelley 1,’ video art by Jennifer Steinkamp at the Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic Center for Medical Art and Photography

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Researchers are learning more about the precise ways paintings and other works of art help patients and families in the healing process. With studies showing a direct link between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, hospitals are considering and choosing artworks based on the evidence and giving it a higher priority than merely decoration for sterile rooms and corridors.

“These are not just accoutrements or aesthetics anymore,” says Lisa Harris, a nephrologist and chief executive of Eskenazi Health, affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

With a $1.5 million budget from donors, she says, the health system commissioned 19 artists to create original works to support “the sense of optimism, vitality and energy” for the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, which opened last December. “This is right down the fairway of what we need to be doing to promote health,” Dr. Harris says.

“Paths Crossed,” by Maine artist Aaron T. Stephan, is a large, spiraling wooden sculpture composed of six intertwined ladders suspended from the ceiling in the hospital’s two-story main concourse.

To Dr. Harris, it is a visual representation of the hospital’s approach to care, with “lives intertwined as we go from health to sickness and back to health again,” she says. People have reacted differently, she notes. “Some see it as DNA, and some see it as a roller coaster.”

Anne Berry, 81, says, “It makes me think of flying.” She visits the hospital for procedures and tests such as a mammogram and always takes time to look at the artworks. She has “white coat syndrome,” which makes her nervous about going to a doctor, but she says, “I have found the art and the environment at Eskenazi makes it less stress-inducing for me.”

Close to half of hospitals have arts programs, which include art therapy classes and musical performances, according to a 2009 report from the Society for Arts in Healthcare, now known as the Arts & Health Alliance.

Permanent art displays are most prevalent, and the trend continues to grow, says Steven Libman, outgoing executive director and now a consultant for the nonprofit.

Though many hospitals are in a budget crunch, funds for art are often provided by philanthropy, or built into construction budgets of new facilities.

For help with choosing art works, consultants, hospital curators and art committees turn to studies such as those gathered in the nonprofit Center for Health Design’s “Guide to Evidence-Based Art.”

Research suggests patients are positively affected by nature themes and figurative art with unambiguous, positive faces that convey a sense of security and safety.

Some studies have found that patients are likely to respond negatively to art with negative images or icons. Abstract art also often rates low in patient preferences compared with representational art.

One 1993 study found that patients exposed to a nature image experienced less postoperative anxiety and were more likely to switch to weaker painkillers than those who viewed an abstract image or no image.

A 2011 study found that nature images helped calm restless behavior and noise levels in two Texas emergency department waiting rooms.

A 2012 review of neuroscience studies published in the Health Environments Research & Design Journal found that images of fearful or angry faces, ambiguous subject matter, high novelty and unfamiliarity, lack of realism and sharp contours elicit negative emotional responses in the brain and suggested they should be avoided.

Hospitals aren’t shying away from art whose content is open to interpretation or might make patients reflect. In the spring 2014 issue of the same journal, the Cleveland Clinic reported that patients surveyed on its contemporary collection—which includes abstract and nonrepresentational imagery by some prominent artists—reported a significant positive effect on their experience and on mood, stress, comfort and expectations.

The study suggested patients may respond positively to the diversity of the collection and to other types of art in addition to nature art.

Still, says Iva Fattorini, a dermatologist and global chairwoman of the Cleveland Clinic’s Arts & Medicine Institute, the focus is on art that is “not disturbing, but uplifting and diverse.” The aim “is to take your mind away from the disease and replace the time you are losing inside hospital with some beauty.”

Some patients in its survey reported they were motivated to get out of bed to view the artwork. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder reported the most significant positive improvement in mood.

One popular piece is “Mike Kelley 1″ by artist Jennifer Steinkamp; an illuminated video installation of a large tree that cycles through the seasons, changing color and moving as if in a breeze.

Heather Kreinbrink says when her daughter Allison had a stroke at age 12 in 2010 and was hospitalized for a week, she and her husband, Rod, found looking at the installation outside the children’s wing provided a sense of calm amid their fear and exhaustion.

“It ended up being something we would go to every day for peace and to come to terms with what was happening,” she says.

When Allison was discharged, her parents brought her to see it. “It made me think as I saw other kids being pushed in wheelchairs by their parents, how awesome it is to be able to have something like that to take your mind of everything you are going through,” says Allison, now 16. Each year when she returns for a checkup, she poses for a picture in front of the tree.

Jeffrey Rothenberg, an obstetrician and gynecologist and chief medical officer at Indiana University Health’s University Hospital, says he learned to make glass art himself as a stress reliever. He is chairman of a public art committee for Indiana University School of Medicine’s Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute that called on artists with ties to Indiana to create works for a building devoted to vision.

“People sent in a lot of great pictures, but some of them were blurry or misty mornings”—not the best visuals, Dr. Rothenberg says, for “people getting their eyes dilated so they can’t see.”

The committee has chosen a range of works aimed at promoting healing and providing comfort, mostly purchased and some donated after the works were selected, including a glass wall sculpture and mobile by Dr. Rothenberg that he donated. Images in health-care settings shouldn’t be shocking, Dr. Rothenberg says, yet “at the same time you don’t want something so boring and generic that people walk away.”

The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., chooses art to create a “healing environment,” says Chrysanthe Yates, director of its Lyndra P. Daniel Center for Humanities in Medicine.

Despite artistic merit, not all works fit the bill. For example, the hospital passed on an option to display a show of works about the Vietnam War, “which were beautiful but very stark and for obvious reasons not appropriate,” she says.

Mayo also exhibits pieces on loan from Jacksonville’s Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. The institutions are collaborating on a program for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and their caregivers, who meet at the museum for conversations about art works as a means of soothing and relieving stress. A research study is planned to measure those effects.

Write to Laura Landro at laura.landro@wsj.com

 

Professor Juliet King receives first Frank C. Springer Family Innovative Faculty Award

Juliet King, MA, ATR-BC, LPC and director of Herron School of Art and Design’s Art Therapy Program, is the first to receive the Frank C. Springer Family Innovative Faculty Award. The newly-created award is the school’s most prestigious and largest faculty research prize.

King will conduct a meta-analysis of art therapy and neuroscience studies to search for patterns and gaps in art therapy research. She expects to present her findings at the American Art Therapy Association national conference in 2014 and for her work to be published. Her research will also benefit Herron art therapy graduate students as she weaves it into the curriculum.

The Springer Family, including Cathy Springer Brown and Rick Brown of Indianapolis and Mary Ann and Scott Hillstrom of the Chicago area, devised the award to inspire Herron faculty members to expand their artistic, creative and scholarly work in innovative directions to yield new insights into the human condition.

The award honors the spirit of Frank C. Springer Jr., a beloved Indianapolis philanthropist and art connoisseur who was a great friend to Herron and many other organizations.

Cathy Springer Brown said “Uncle Frank would be pleased knowing the award will help support important research in the field of art therapy.” She encourages others to think about what their passions might be and explore ways to support Herron. “It’s powerful when you think about the impact your support will have on countless students and faculty,” she said. “Making a gift in honor of someone special makes the experience even more rewarding.”

Herron faculty will competitively submit research proposals for the Springer Award each fall. Herron’s Faculty Affairs Committee, this year led by Professor Eric Nordgulen, will select one proposal for the award annually.

Warriors-turned-artists facilitate healing with paper handmade from their own uniforms

Combat Paper
September 25 – November 16
Artist’s Talk: Wednesday, September 25, 6:00 p.m.
Combat Paper Project co-founder Drew Cameron
Opening Reception: immediately following Artist’s Talk, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Herron School of Art and Design, Basile Auditorium, Eskenazi Hall

Veterans achieve a form of catharsis through the transformative art of papermaking, pressing their own uniforms into service as the raw material in works of art. Papermaker, book artist and veteran Drew Cameron, who co-founded the Combat Paper workshops where the art is made, will speak on opening night and will be on hand for several additional public events between September 23-27.

“Coming home from war is a difficult thing,” writes artist and veteran Drew Cameron, founder of the Combat Paper Project. “There is often much to account for as a survivor.” In his own search for meaning, Cameron discovered that papermaking can be a transformative process that broadens “the traditional narrative surrounding the military experience and warfare.”

Since 2007, the Combat Paper Project, which Cameron co-founded, has grown from its San Francisco base and travelled to Canada, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Kosovo providing workshops, exhibitions, performances and artists’ talks.

breaking rank by drew cameron

Drew Cameron, Breaking Rank

An exhibition of works from Combat Paper will open in Herron School of Art and Design’s Berkshire, Reese and Paul Galleries in Eskenazi Hall on September 25, running through November 16. Cameron will give an artist’s talk on opening night at 6:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Surrounding Cameron’s visit, there is a full slate of activities at Herron and in the broader community. At Herron, he will work with students and the public in a variety of ways, dovetailing with the school’s Book Arts and Art Therapy programs. In addition to the exhibition opening activities, Cameron’s visit is scheduled to include:

Tuesday September 24: A papermaking workshop open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center, 1401 Indiana Avenue. Lunch provided from Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday September 25: Classroom visit at Eskenazi Hall with Art Therapy graduate students from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Book Arts students in the afternoon.

Thursday September 26: A papermaking workshop open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center, 1401 Indiana Avenue. Lunch provided from Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Friday September 27: Classroom visit with Book Arts students from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Persons interested in attending the workshops can RSVP to Paula Katz at katzp@iupui.edu to reserve a seat and lunch. Participants may bring a piece of clothing that they would like to incorporate into the batch of paper that will be made during the workshop.

November 1-16, in the Marsh Gallery: Combat Paper companion show of veteran-made art.

November 9, 2:00 p.m. in the Basile Auditorium of Eskenazi Hall: “Veterans Reclaim Armistice Day”. National Book Award for Fiction winner Tim O’Brien leads a panel discussing literary expression as a means of coping with PTSD. A project of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

November 13, 7:00 p.m., in the Basile Auditorium of Eskenazi Hall: Screening of The Ghost Army

National audiences eager to hear about Herron School of Art and Design’s unique approach to Art Therapy

This summer and fall, professionals at national conferences from Seattle to Chicago and Louisville to New York will listen to Juliet King, Herron School of Art and Design’s director of art therapy, share tales from the frontier.

She’ll be speaking about art therapists’ pioneering work in developing sound clinical interventions that help people get better. She ought to know. She’s doing some pioneering of her own; for starters, by building an art therapy program housed in an art school.

Her speaking engagements include a June American Art Therapy Association Conference in Seattle; October presentations at the Illinois Art Therapy Association Conference in Chicago, and the Coalition for Urban and Metropolitan Universities in Louisville; and a November appearance at the Expressive Therapies Summit in New York.

Creative arts therapies are hot—whether visual, kinetic or musical—like a rock band laboring in obscurity, honing its chops for years before bursting onto the scene “overnight”. After decades of research, scientific evidence is forming a critical mass pointing toward art therapy’s efficacy. Continuing and deepening this research is important in a world where only outcomes-based evidence will do for healthcare and insurance providers.

Public awareness has preceded some of the science, but governments have not caught up with the public. “We as professionals are facing a practical and existential crisis regarding employment and authenticity of professional identity,” said King. “In some states, anyone still can hang up a shingle and call themselves an art therapist, even though Art Therapy is a master’s-level medical and healthcare profession.” She continued, “We are eligible to be licensed as professional counselors and are actively advocating for independent licensure. We have a lot more work to do in educating the public on what to look for in their practitioner.”

Despite a lag in ideal licensure requirements, strides on the clinical side continue. Wounded warriors are seeing the benefits of art therapy applied to their own struggles with sense of self and re-entry into civilian life. King’s presentations will include discussion of her work with combat veterans at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

“Veterans returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom volunteered to be part of a mindfulness-based art therapy group,” King said. “Originally developed as a pilot project to provide a service that does not yet exist at the VA, indicators are encouraging that from this group our participants felt ‘some’ or ‘great’ positive change in hopefulness, and also in the belief that they could improve their own emotional health.”

King also will be sharing highlights from her graduate students’ experiences working alongside clinical staff, developing and providing art therapy in Indianapolis-area settings from prisons to hospice programs.

“With the technological resources and expertise Herron has available by being part of a large, urban, life sciences campus, we are poised to make significant research contributions to the study of Art Therapy as it relates to Neuroscience,” said King. “Intervening with Art Therapy and being able to assess its impact—especially on post-traumatic stress in veterans and children who are victims of abuse and neglect—is an exciting prospect for our graduate students and clinicians alike. There is so much promise for helping people in this field.”

For more information about Herron’s Art Therapy graduate program, visit www.herron.iupui.edu/art-therapy.