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

 

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana NEXT Initiative

wf_logo-color_bugThe Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, an endowed special interest fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, provides grants, philanthropic engagement, and education of current and potential donors to benefit the lives of women and girls.

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana has created The NEXT Initiative, a ten-year commitment to help emerging adult women (ages 18-24) move from economic instability to economic stability, to encourage local entrepreneurs to find viable solutions to help these vulnerable young women become strong independent women who are not dependent on the goodwill of other for their success. This is a one-time only opportunity. Anyone interested in applying to be an entrepreneur with NEXT initiative, needs to act now.

To be considered for the project, entrepreneurs should have touched or experienced this community of young adult women in a unique way such as having worked with this population, seen the results of these women not being served, or been a part of the NEXT population at one point in time. Entrepreneurs should be innovative, bold, determined, respected, creative and thoughtful and able to collaborate well in order to build successful solutions and effective ways to measure and evaluate their success. Potential entrepreneurs also need to be willing to spend significant time in Indianapolis developing and implementing solutions, becoming knowledgeable about our community, creating relationships, forming partnerships and ensuring their idea is appropriate for our community.

To apply begin by completing a Statement of Intent and submit beginning September 2, 2014 and December 2, 2014 at 12p EDT. Project proposals should meet the following parameters:

  • Participants will be a clearly identifiable population (within the 18-24 year old female population)
  • An intensive holistic approach for working with the population
  • Measurable outcomes including: women becoming economically secure and prepared for future success
  • Systemic evaluation of the initiative from the start
  • The ability to replicate the project with other populations within this age group.

2-3 entrepreneurs will be selected in the inaugural round. Each will receive a $90,000 annual salary plus full benefits (as an employee of the Central Indiana Community Foundation) for 1-2 years. If a not-for-profit is chosen, a grant will be made in an amount commensurate with the individual awards. Women’s Fund will provide additional funding for expenses, corresponding with the approved budget of the entrepreneur/s. The first stage of this project is an incubator period for selected social services entrepreneurs to begin developing solutions to meet the needs of this population in Central Indiana- Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan, and Shelby counties. For the selected entrepreneurs, this is a period of 1-2 years spent developing solutions for the NEXT population. Once the solutions are ready to launch, Women’s Fund will fund the solution to the end of ten years.

Timeline:

  • Statements of intent are due September 2, 2014 at noon Eastern Standard Time
  • Notification of decisions in December 2014
  • Full proposals from invited applicants will be due in March 2015
  • Select applicants will be interviewed in Summer 2015
  • Applicants will be notified of decisions in September 2015
  • Chosen entrepreneurs will be expected to begin January 2016

For more information visit the NEXT Initiative page

Former ACLS President to discuss nature of philanthropy

Thursday, April 17, 2014; 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.
Sigma Theta Tau Boardroom at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, 550 W. North St., Indianapolis, IN

Free and open to the public.

Dr. Stanley Katz, President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies, and National Humanities Medal Recipient (2010), will deliver a talk entitled “Philanthropy and Plutocracy: Is Bill Gates Different than Andrew Carnegie?”

Katz is President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies, the national humanities organization in the United States. Mr. Katz graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1955 with a major in English History and Literature. He was trained in British and American history at Harvard (PhD, 1961), where he also attended Law School in 1969-70. His recent research focuses upon the relationship of civil society and constitutionalism to democracy, and upon the relationship of the United States to the international human rights regime. He is the Editor in Chief of the recently published Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History, and the Editor of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court. He also writes about higher education policy, and publishes a blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Formerly Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor of the History of American Law and Liberty at Princeton University, Katz is a specialist on American legal and constitutional history, and on philanthropy and non-profit institutions. The author and editor of numerous books and articles, Mr. Katz has served as President of the Organization of American Historians and the American Society for Legal History and as Vice President of the Research Division of the American Historical Association. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Newberry Library and numerous other institutions. Katz is a member of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, the American Philosophical Society; a Fellow of the American Society for Legal History, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Society of American Historians; and a Corresponding Member of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Please RSVP to nbell@iupui.edu

For further details, please visit the event page at the School of Philanthropy’s website.

IUPUI professor provides retrospective as Rockefeller Foundation turns 100

INDIANAPOLIS — Before there was a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or a Ford Foundation, there was the Rockefeller Foundation, whose philanthropic muscle dominated scientific and medical research for four decades.

The Rockefeller Foundation on May 14 announced its 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge, a $100 million effort to help 100 cities around the world prepare to weather and rebound from either natural or manmade disasters. The campaign continues a visionary approach to “promoting the well-being of mankind throughout the world” that began with the foundation’s creation 100 years ago this month.

“Rockefeller is a well-known name, but most people aren’t familiar with the family’s specific contributions,” said Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor William H. Schneider. “Researchers get grants and fellowships. Those are things that didn’t exist before the Rockefeller Foundation.”

The Rockefellers’ contributions went beyond funding to creating the mechanisms for dispersing or awarding funds. Lessons learned by the Rockefeller Foundation could well serve today’s leading philanthropic giants, said Schneider, head of the Medical Humanities and Health Studies program in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

The May 16 issue of Nature magazine provides a historic perspective on the Rockefeller Foundation in an article written by Schneider, “Philanthropy: The difficult art of giving.” Schneider is a professor of history in the School of Liberal Arts and a professor of philanthropic studies in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

The IUPUI professor is the editor of “Rockefeller Philanthropy and Modern Biomedicine,” published by Indiana University Press in 2002. The content is the work of experts gathered for a conference at the Rockefeller Archives Center in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Schneider is also author of the forthcoming book, “The History of Blood Transfusions in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

To reach Schneider for interviews about the history of the Rockefeller Foundation and its impact on philanthropy, email whschnei@iupui.edu; call 317-274-4740; or contact Diane Brown, at 317-274-2195 or habrown@iu.edu.