Kentucky Center Considers Role of Art in Healing

by ekramer on April 6, 2009

The Kentucky Center has launched a new arts and healing program that’s bringing a leader in arts and health care to speak there Tuesday. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Jill Sonkee is the co-founder and director of a center for the arts in healthcare at the University of Florida. And she’ll speak about her experiences and research on how art improves healing.

The presentation is part of the Kentucky Center’s new program, which is aimed at encouraging more arts activities and performances at regional health care facilities.

Robin Hicks is managing the new program. She says the Kentucky Center plans to work with health professionals and artists in the community in a variety of ways.

“One way is an artists-in-residence program,” Hick says. “And that is where we will train a professional corps of artists to work in health care settings and hospitals.”

Hicks says the Kentucky Center also will arrange for national artists work at local heath facilities.

“When we have national performing artists come in, whether it’s the Soweto Gospel Choir or the Mark Morris Dance Group, we can either have workshops or even mini-performances in health care facilities,” she says.

Last month, the Center arranged for the Mark Morris Dance Group to hold a dance class at the Frazier Rehab Institute for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

As part of the program, Hicks tracks research about the arts in health care.

“Research demonstrates that the arts not only improve the quality of patient care and bring comfort to patients and families,” Hicks says, “but it helps staff retention and satisfaction.”

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