Art Isn’t Just Good For the Mind, It’s Good For the Body Too

And the two are more interconnected than you think.

Priscilla Frank,  Arts Writer, The Huffington Post

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Source: Priscilla Frank, The Huffington Post

My dad was the one who had just had brain surgery, but I also needed to heal.

While he recovered in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center I found myself roaming the halls which, luckily for me, were adorned with a museum-quality art collection, including the work of Paul Klee, Marc Chagall, Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Rauschenberg.

I was particularly glued to a corridor lined with Ellsworth Kelly drawings, simple black-and-white lined depictions of plants. They floated in the white space ever so lightly, like pressed flowers whose insides had faded away. In a time characterized by fatigue, chronic nausea and depression, those fragile black shapes provided me space to breathe. The hospital smells and sounds faded away in their presence as if by magic.

I was not the sick one, but was nonetheless overwhelmed with gratitude for those humble monochromatic forms, and in awe of their power. To members of the art therapy community, this ostensible miracle is more like science. The effects of art viewing are not just emotional, but physical as well.

“I have shown art reproductions to very ill patients, even in intensive care,” art therapist Irene David, director of therapeutic arts at Bellevue Hospital Center, told The Huffington Post, “and observed calmer states and pleasure elicited — a kind of life-enhancing lift to neutralize the clinical experience and ambiance of hospitalization.”

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