By John Graham-Pole
To celebrate Global Arts+Health Month, two AHA! artists are starting work at St Martha’s with patients, families and staff. Tom Curry is a trained music therapist and Noella Murphy is a visual and performance artist, who has her own “clown persona”.
Tom and Noella will be working – both together and separately – in several of the hospital units, but they will be spending most of their time with more long stay patients, especially in the Progressive Care, Oncology and Palliative Care wards. Their intention is to provide art activities to both individual patients and small groups, exploring the countless ways in which music, visual, performance arts and storytelling can enhance our health – of body, mind and spirit. We will be presenting these ideas to St Martha’s nurse managers and others on November 8th, and seeking “referrals” of patients that the staff believe could especially benefit from this new program.
Although our artists-in-residence is currently funded only through November, we very much hope we will be able to continue it into the New Year and beyond. Artists-in-Residence are at the heart of the modern arts-for-health movement, and most programs have started out with artists working in hospitals. But AHA! sees our artists-in-residence as having a much broader scope, working in many other places, including our nursing homes, schools and public places such as our Peoples Place library.
AHA! is delighted to welcome Noella and Tom to St Martha’s as our first artists in residence!