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"When Fine Art Helps the Healing Art"

18 Apr 2014 4:07 PM | Deleted user

Posted April 17, 2014 on Cleveland radio station WCPN


Tom Schorgl, President and CEO, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture
Kristen Puch, Director of Research and Advancement, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture
Joanne Cohen, Executive Director, Cleveland Clinic Art Program
Jennifer Schwartz-Wright, Executive Director, Art Therapy Studio

BATA President, Jacky Martin, reviewed the program:

The radio interview/presentation held this morning, April 17th, on
Clevelandstation WCPN was informative, educational, and underscored the power of both art and music therapies at hospitals in the  Cleveland area. "Creative Minds in Medicine" is supported through the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture in Cleveland.  

"The Sound of Ideas" was the title of this broadcast. Jennifer Schwartz Wright, the Executive Director of the community-based Art Therapy Studio in

Cleveland, participated in this very conscientious and thought-provoking radio program. Jennifer gave a brief and thorough overview of the development of art therapy in Cleveland, citing Dr. George Streeter, MD and psychiatrist as the initiator of the art therapy program at Highland View Hospital in 1967. Jennifer made many succinct and comprehensive statements as to the nature of how art-making is therapeutic. "People have been using art to heal when they started making drawings in the sand," Jennifer said when asked how art therapy evolved. Jennifer emphasized how making art helps so many patients with a multiplicity of diagnoses and health concerns. The individual's art is another voice that can speak when a person has a stroke, serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, or perhaps Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When asked about the interpretation of an individual's art work, Jennifer replied that is done with the individual, as each person has their own unique mindset of what imagery or symbols may mean to them. Artwork can also give information to the physicians as to how the individual appears to be functioning in several ways.  

Discussion followed on how public health issues can be addressed through the visual arts. Tom Schorgl, the CEO of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, made reference to the AIDS quilt. That quilt made many people more aware of this illness across the country. Tom also commented on the commercial of several years ago that used scrambled eggs as a visual metaphor for "Your brain on drugs" and how effective that commercial was.

The benefits of both art and music therapies were enumerated to include how individuals can relax and feel less stress and anxiety, and be distracted in a healthy way while participating; and can also help people to deal more effectively with trauma and transitions in life. There was more discussion on other topics such as the need for more research to demonstrate that art and music therapies are effective treatment strategies, and also the benefits of making art when one is not dealing with illness.

Directors of arts and art therapy organizations were also on this broadcast, which included the Cleveland Clinic,

University Hospitals and Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. Several people sent e-mails to the radio station and also called in to the broadcast.

Thank you, Jennifer, for being such a wonderful and outstanding spokesperson for art therapy.


Buckeye Art Therapy Association

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