Art: Our Language of Understanding

We create work that is meaningful to us and represent our life stories. We share not only events in our lives, but our belief system, our hopes, our political leanings, and our like Julie Andrews sings, “A few of our favorite things.” Our art makes us transparent. It’s not that we’re not leaving anything to the imagination, we’re just choosing how and when we let those unspoken areas of our lives reveal themselves.

It may be easier for some of us to show how we think and feel about something rather than speaking an explanation. Gia Mora is a cabaret singer with a unique twist. I saw a segment about Mora on PBS’ Arts District. Mora created a cabaret show that incorporates music, humor, and academia; yes you read it correctly…academia.   It’s a unique twist, but emphasizes the power of art to explain what some may feel are complicated intellectual concepts.

Gia Mora uses art to disarm the public about science and technology. We are continuously looking for ways to engage kids in the fields of math and science and Mora may have the method to draw them in to those subject arenas. When we utilize creativity to share a concept we expand the possibility for connection between us all.

The concept of teaching through art was emphasized in the television movie “The Ron Clark Story”. Clark left North Carolina and went to the inner city in New York and taught kids previously thought to be underachievers. When teaching these kids about the Presidents of the United States, he created a rap song about the presidents and a factoid to help them remember the order. These kids thrived because Clark was able to tap into another part of their brain, their creative side, increasing their capacity for learning.

Looking to share something that others don’t quite get? Try using your creative brain and engage others through art because art is a common denominator!

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The Playful and Technological Side of Art and Healing

Technology is changing fast and artists have joined the bandwagon of using it in their art. Recently I attended the annual conference of the Global Alliance for Art and Health. One of the sessions I attended was on art in the hospice and palliative are arena. An artist, one of the presenters shared her use of technology for using technology with patients, and how it impacts her own work.

The iPad has given many individuals and agencies a new medium for creating art. The apps available on electronic devices provide us with new ways not only to create art, but also to save it and print it. Our iPads can be the new incarnation of the sketchbook, the canvas, or even the portfolio.

I was introduced to the app Paper 53. It gives you the opportunity to create journals with a host of tools. The app gives us all the opportunity to play with art. It’s almost like the adult version of an Etch-A-Sketch. You can create pictures (without the knobs and more fluid lines) and if you don’t like it simply erase what you’ve designed. What’s also great about art apps is the opportunity to print your masterpieces.

Artist Sheila Elias is an artist who uses her iPad for the basis of many of her works. A critic says that Elias is painting the optimism of life when most are painting about pessimism in life. This is important because even if you are facing adversity, such as a health challenge, you can still come from a place of optimism. If you were painting “hope” what would it look like?

Hospices are beginning to provide iPads for patients so they can create art allowing them to tell their stories and share their experiences. It’s easy because all you need is an iPad and your finger. There is no mess and you don’t need a lot of supplies. It’s giving palliative care units and hospices new avenues for alleviating stress and fear. It allows patients to create for joy, meditation, and stress reduction.

Many of the apps are free and this makes it accessible. The more ways we have to create is healing for all of us. It provides one more outlet for our personal self-expression!

**Note: If you’re a musician, there are apps for composing music, tuning your instruments, and recording**

Diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Looking for education, support, and inspiration?  Visit