Art of Healing promotes hope, peace among patients
In conjunction with ahha Tulsa, the program incorporates art-related activities into Hillcrest patients’ health care.
Sharon Allred, Margee Aycock, Tennille Wilson and Tami Smith take Art of Healing carts with supplies to brighten the recoveries of patients at Hillcrest Medical Center.
Since 2002, Hillcrest Medical Center has been going the extra mile through its Art of Healing program. In conjunction with ahha Tulsa, the program incorporates art-related activities into Hillcrest patients’ health care.
The program is facilitated by artists like Sharon Allred. “After I retired from being a nurse, I knew I wanted to still work with patients and do something with art,” Allred says. “I went through training in New York City to be an artist in residence and when I came back in 2006, I found out Hillcrest had this vibrant program.”
Alongside fellow artists Tami Smith, Tennille Wilson and Margee Aycock, Allred pushes an “art cart” of arts and crafts materials around the hospital. Patients are able to use the supplies for painting, beadwork, braiding, to make cards or to journal/write.
Thousands of hospital employees, patients and volunteers also are working on a collaborative mural that will hang in the main Hillcrest lobby after it is unveiled in early 2019.
“I’ve been involved with the program since the beginning, and the one constant has been a small group of passionate, supportive members that want to keep it going,” says Nat Torkelson, Art of Healing committee leader. “Ahha has been great because it continues to supply us with trained artists, each of them actively engaged with patients and staff.”
Artist pay is based on donations from Hillcrest and other sources; some months their work is all volunteer.
Aleks Kitchens, ahha Tulsa’s school and community programs manager, says the program has had a profound impact on patients. “I think we sometimes forget how depressing and hopeless a hospital can be, so the stories I hear from the artists and patients are always, ‘This is the only beacon of light I had,’ or ‘This was the only thing I had to look forward to each week.’
“So bringing that sense of hopefulness and peace into a setting that can be very stressful is Art of Healing’s biggest takeaway.”
To donate to Art of Healing, call Aleks Kitchens at 918-584-3333, ext. 224.