The Mission of Theater: The Contract of Showtime

Posted by Jeffrey Pufahl, MFA, LMUS, May 04, 2017 0 comments

There are basic contracts theater makers enter with each other when they start a project. These unwritten rules govern the creation of a piece of theater. We understand that what is shared at a performance is only between those who are there, and although the performance disappears forever once the lights are dimmed, what was shared remains and is carried by the audience. For the veterans who tell their stories through theater, their burdens can become a little lighter, a little more bearable—and that can make the pain of telling worthwhile.

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Maine’s Statewide Census in Arts Education

Posted by Ms. Argy Nestor, May 03, 2017 0 comments

An amazing collaboration in the state of Maine occurred when the Maine Arts Commission enlisted Noel Paul Stookey (the famed singer-songwriter) of Peter, Paul, and Mary to champion the statewide arts education census. The year-long effort achieved a stunning 95% response rate—making it the highest voluntary response rate on record nationally for a survey of this type. Responding principals noted that an important outcome of the census would be to advocate for assessment polices for arts education in order to gather Maine-centric, rather than national, data points that demonstrate the impact of arts education on student performance.

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From Distress to De-Stress: The Power of Visioning and Rehearsing Healthy Behavior through Theatre

Posted by Jennifer Baxley Lee, MA, BC-DMT, May 03, 2017 0 comments

I build bridges for a living. By asking good questions or offering a juicy creative prompt, I point to a potential link between two seemingly disparate ideas: arts and health. I then have the privilege of bearing witness to the flood of ideas, possibilities, solutions, and truths that flow freely when the bridge is built. This year’s “bridge”? Why do we have stress as human beings? How does stress, and constructive or destructive ways of coping, impact our health? Are there any positive gains from stress, if properly expressed and harnessed?

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Tell Me a Story

Posted by Eleanor K. Sommer, MS, May 02, 2017 0 comments

As artists, our mission is to encourage expression. The stories being told may not, on the surface, relate to what is happening in the hospital room or in a patient’s life. The stories might include symbols, similar to symbols that come to us in dreams. As artists, we must treat these stories with appreciation and care. Our task is to encourage and support, rather than to analyze and judge. Storytelling teaches children to create a personal and symbolic mythology as they embark on a healthcare journey.

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Out The Damn Window: One Patient’s View from Inside a Cancer Hospital

Posted by Dylan Klempner, MFA, Cindy L. Craig, MLS, MAT, May 01, 2017 0 comments

During one hospital visit, Dylan mentioned that he had always wanted to film the beautiful view from UF Health’s adult oncology unit on the eighth floor. He asked me if I would like to collaborate on it. At first, I almost said no. Then, I reconsidered, since I had little else to occupy my time. Over the course of several weeks, I captured footage from five different hospital stays. Some days, I would get frustrated while struggling to set up the tripod and getting the white balance right. But, at least I was frustrated about something besides my chemo for an hour. 

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Five Views of the Healing Power of the Arts

Posted by Susan Saloom, May 01, 2017 0 comments

This week, Americans for the Arts is sharing the diverse arts and health experiences of five Assistant Scholars and Lecturers at the UF Center for Arts in Medicine in Gainesville. You will read of the joint experience of both patient and artist, the benefits of storytelling among children engaged in a journey of treatment, and the challenge of shaping healthy lifestyles among teenagers with theater, as well as two stories of the arts and healing for Veterans.

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