"Art Under the Microscope" exhibit will be on display at National Institute of Health
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A traveling art quilt collection, inspired by scientific photographs taken by University of Michigan researchers, travels to the National Institute of Health in Washington D.C. for exhibition July 3 through September 4.
The national traveling exhibit, "Art Under the Microscope," is a collection of 20 quilt renditions of scientific photomicrographs taken by researchers at the U-M Center for Organogenesis. In these photographs, researchers use microscopes and special stains for diagnostic research to examine tissues for alterations in structure or function that are characteristic of health or disease.
The exhibit aims to honor scientific research efforts, enrich community spaces by bringing the arts into everyday life and raise public awareness about the importance of the arts in health care settings. It is sponsored by the Society for Arts in Healthcare, and represents collaboration between UMHS Gifts of Art, Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends and the U-M Center for Organogenesis.
Each quilt - displayed next to the original photograph with the scientific description as well as the fiber artist's description - was created by a member of Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends. When the traveling exhibit ends, the quilts will return to U-M to be on permanent display as part of the UMHS art collection.
"These quilts are trying to convey something about science, research and healing," says Elaine Sims, program director at Gifts of Art. "There's beauty in anything, even if it's a diseased cell, because this is a part of science that develops cures."
"This intersection of art and science is really interesting," says Carrie McClintock, communication coordinator for Gifts of Art. "Though the photos are microscopic images, through the process of art, the work becomes connected to others on a macro level."
Sims says this collaborative project is just one example of how the arts can enhance health care by connecting people with the power of the arts at key moments in their lives. This diverse and multidisciplinary field integrates the arts-including literary, performing and visual arts and design-into a wide variety of health care and community settings for therapeutic, educational and expressive purposes.
"It's not for the aesthetic of the art alone but how it transforms a patient's experience at that institution," she says. "Art in a hospital has a job to do. It can't just sit on the wall and look pretty."
About Gifts of Art
The Gifts of Art program-recently named by the National Endowment of Arts among its "Arts in Healthcare: Best Practices" - provides artistic opportunities for patients, visitors and staff to enrich their experience, enhance the healing process and reduce the stress and anxiety often associated with health care settings.
Highlights of the program include: nine exhibit galleries; weekly public performances of music, theatre and dance; the Art Cart, a library of framed poster art for patient's rooms; live bedside music; artist in residency programs; and the Life Sciences Orchestra, made up of doctors, nurses, staff and students in the life sciences areas of the university, that performs two free public performances each year.
The University of Michigan Center for Organogenesis unites scientists from many fields who work together to study organ formation, function and disease. The goal of this research is to use the knowledge gained to design new and effective strategies to treat disease and repair damaged organs.
The Society for the Arts in Healthcare, an international membership organization, advances the arts as integral to health care by advocating for the use of the arts in all health care environments. As the leading resource uniting the arts and health care, the society has a strong history of linking artists, professionals and leaders in the arts, humanities and health. For more information on the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, visit www.thesah.org
Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends is a group of Washington, D.C.-area art quilters with a passion for the textile medium. The group has a legacy of providing art quilts for healing centers. For more information, visit www.fiberartists-looseends.com