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Bodies of Work: Art & Healing

The notion that making and experiencing the arts can be healing has a long history. At the beginning of the 20th century, tuberculosis patients “taking the cure” at sanatoria often participated in structured arts and crafts programs. Wounded soldiers recuperating during World War II were taught “lap crafts,” such as beading and embroidery, as part of their medical therapy. The arts have served as powerful medicine for both mind and body for centuries.

When planning for this exhibition considering the connection between art and healing began, the Covid-19 pandemic was dominating headlines around the globe. How do the arts help us process and/or recover from medical illness? How can they help us navigate the complex experience of what it is to be a medical patient facing serious illness in the 21st century? And how can art help us heal from other kinds of social and emotional trauma?

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