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Art That Heals

April 29, 2011, 6:10 PM by Kelli Grant

Art That Heals
SIOUX FALLS, SD - A picture can say a thousand words. And when you need words to heal, art can certainly bring comfort.

It's comfort staff at Avera McKennan are hoping to bring to their patients when they walk in Avera's new Cancer Institute. And they're enlisting the help of the community to use words and pictures to help patients heal.

It's one of the first things you see when you walk through the doors of the Prairie Center on Avera McKennan's campus. It's called a digital media art wall and on 15 screens you'll find color, words and the innocence of a child.

“Children are so bright and vivid in their imagination and the quotes they came up with were amazing. I thought they nailed it,” Art Therapist Carol Rogers said.

The spring show features artwork and quotes from elementary students in the Sioux Falls Catholic School system.

“We can either scan it or we can photograph it. In this case, we had a combination of photographs of the artwork, photographs of the kids making the artwork. And we also interviewed the kids and got quotes from them about what (they) intended the artwork to be,” McKnight said.

It's one of many shows that will be featured throughout the year.

“We plan to do about four shows a year that are invitational or juried,” Director of Creative Services and Marketing Russell McKnight said.

The Community Digital Media Art Gallery is a new concept and takes the place of a very costly art gallery. And it's getting noticed.

“When people walk through and look at that media wall, they just immediately smile because how can you not enjoy children's artwork,” Rogers said.

“One of the things I'm most pleased about has been the response by people coming in. I get reports almost daily about people being late for their appointments because they just get caught up in looking at the artwork,” McKnight said.

It's there to help patient focus on something other than their illness and offer distraction for patients about to undergo surgery.

It's therapy patients don't even know they're getting.

“You know as an art therapist, I see everyday how it helps people. But it's fun to bring it to the public eye too,” Rogers said.

Find out more about the art at the Avera Cancer Institute online.

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