Visual artist Ariadne Albright travelled to campus Thursday to talk about the influences of art forms in health care with students in the Fine Arts Building.
Albright currently works at Sanford Vermillion Hospital as an in-residence artist and art coordinator, where she incorporates painting and art as health tools. She is also an adjunct instructor of the “arts in health care” class that started last fall at USD.
Albright started out as an artist with an emphasis in painting, but became interested in health care later in her career when both of her parents started getting ill. Albright moved back to South Dakota to be with her parents during this time.
“I was then working a residency with the South Dakota Arts Council when I did my first arts in health care program in Yankton at the Behavioral Health,” Albright said. “That’s when I felt the connection, when I was providing relaxation and comfort through art there.”
The presentation was geared towards art students looking into art therapy as a possible career choice. About 40 people were there, including students and faculty.
“We’re starting the classes to see what the students interests are—that’s all related to arts in health care,” said Larry Schou, the dean of the College of Fine Arts. “We would have a professor who teaches music, art and theater and how they can be used in the health care system.”
School added that this new class is part of a progression toward getting a degree program at USD for Expressive Art Therapy. Most of the students at the presentation were music students, Schou said.
“I think this has huge potential across the whole state and region given that we have Sanford and Avera in Sioux Falls,” he said. “They’re doing some things now with arts in health care.”
Albright discussed various options for art and health care majors, such as teaching painting, drawing or music classes to senior citizens, and then handed the presentation over to Rebecca Froehlich, who had interned at Sanford’s “Arts in Health Care” program with Albright.
Froehlich, a junior studio arts major, said she knew she wanted to major in art when she enrolled at USD.
“I wasn’t aware of the field of arts and health at all, so it wasn’t something I realized you could merge together,” she said. “Once I found that out, my ideas about what I wanted to do in my career shifted.”
Before ending the presentation, Albright asked everyone to draw different parts of a tree on a piece of paper while holding it on their foreheads. She said the exercise was meant to clear the head, help with memory and provoke laughter or happiness.
The arts in health care class will be offered again at USD in the fall, co-taught by Albright and adjunct instructor Ali Daughn.