Patients coping with cancer, and their caregivers, often experience a complex array of emotions including anxiety, fear, depression, frustration and sadness — feelings that, for some, may be difficult to express. Art is a tool for patients to express their feelings without having to verbalize them. As the artist in Residence at Hennepin County Medical Center, I work with cancer patients and their loved ones.
We do a variety of fail proof art projects with the highest goal being for participants to feel connection in the moment, express themselves, surprise themselves with what they are capable of, and maybe even leave a session feeling like artists.
Patients and their families who participate report reduced stress, anxiety and depression, alleviation of pain and improved overall well-being. The process of creative art making can also help patients re-frame their experiences from a place of despair to one more meaningful and hopeful.