In this uncertain, disorienting time, the arts can serve as a compass. The arts help us find direction and remind us that there is still solid ground beneath our feet and a steady horizon ahead of us. And so, those of us at the newly-formed Center for the Art of Medicine at the University of Minnesota welcome you to join us for a daily Artistic Antidote for a Pandemic.
These daily doses of poetry, prose, music, and art can be integrated into our clinical and self-care practices. In doing so, we hope they will:
March 8, 2021
Can you believe it's been almost an entire year since we entered into "pandemic mode"? A year since we, in an effort to help people cope, heal and process, started offering our Daily Pause for a Pandemic? Today we want to offer up a photo blog by local photographer Katie Howie, who has been putting together a "living history of a 21st century American community exploring what it means to be human during a global pandemic. We're all connected by a thread". For us, that thread is the arts.
While we are a year in, we still have a ways to go. If you have a favorite art piece that has been helping you through this, we'd love to share it. If you are a frontline worker who wants to share your story, we'd love to hear from you. We will get through this, together.
February 15, 2021
Seitu Jones is a multi-disciplinary artist and community organizer known for his large-scale public artworks and environmental design. Jones channels the spirit of radical social movements into experiences that foster critical conversations and nurture more just and vibrant communities from the soil up. He is recognized as a dynamic collaborator and a creative force for civic engagement. We couldn't wait to talk with him about what has been driving him creatively over the last few months. Let us know what you think!
December 31, 2020
As this milestone year comes to a close, we want to share a new initiative, built out of the Artistic Antidote for a Pandemic. Sensing an enhanced need for support and gratitude for our frontline healthcare workers, we've partnered with local artists to create unique "Daily Pause" offerings to share with all of you. For our first piece, we offer up a unique pause from author Kate DiCamillo, who is one of six people to win two Newbery Medals for her novels The Tale of Despereaux and Flora & Ulysses. We are lucky to count her as a resident of our great state, and even luckier to have her share her words of support with us at this time when we could all use some uplifting and encouragement.
WHY ART? BY DEAN JAKUB TOLAR
Something about being in crisis and isolated from our normal routines triggers our brains to call up dark and dusty corners of our psyche we don’t usually see. In these corners live things like anxiety, gloom, and uneasiness.
Each of us has our own ways of dealing with these things and, for many of us, producing or experiencing art can provide the antidotes of pleasure, escape, and increased understanding.
For example, through the protagonist of Albert Camus’ The Plague, published in 1947, we experience many of the same issues facing us today. Is caring for a contagious population a moral duty? Or is it simple human decency? Do we shelter our loved ones when we put ourselves at risk or do they share the risk with us? How can we live our lives with a sense of normalcy, with a tender indifference to the virus?
When experiencing stress that begins to go beyond what words can express, we can find refuge in listening to opera. In the huge dramatic peaks and valleys of opera, emotions overflow in song and, for a moment, the burden of these emotions in our own lives are lifted away by the music and singers’ voices.
Three people I know—Carol Lange, the late Julie Ross, and my younger daughter Johanna―have found expression and relief through painting.
Whether an atmospheric, calming depiction of a rainy day (Carol), a delicate watercolor of a flowery field (Julie), or a punchy bouquet of cheerful flowers (Johanna), painting provides both release in the creation and pleasure from the viewing of the artwork.
Art offers us different ways to experience and view the world, and allows us to share the viewpoints and perspectives of its creators.
Please consider contributing to Artistic Antidotes―an image of your art, a poem, a song, a book that speaks to you―the ways art impacts your life as we build a “library” of shared resources for exploration, experience, creativity, and respite.