Art as therapy. Artfully purchasing a car. The art of flying. These are just some of the purposes of the art exhibits through “Art in Public Places,” directed by the Brevard Cultural Alliance (www.artsbrevard.org). The BCA continues its ongoing program to promote local artists, from Eau Gallie to Cocoa, by placing visual displays where they can be seen by all walks of life.
Various businesses have contracted through the BCA to support this endeavor. Dr. Richard M. Levine has committed space for “art therapy” throughout the Space Coast Cancer Centers (SCCC). He states the physicians and staff there are very involved in “offering a holistic approach when caring for cancer patients in our community by presenting paintings created by local artists.” “The value and pleasure of having the art helps us create a healing environment for all,” he further remarks. Works can be viewed currently at cancer centers in Titusville, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach and Viera.
Art is proven to be effective therapy for those going through any healing process, including a journey surviving cancer. Escaping into a painting like Lolly Walton’s watercolor “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” at Viera’s Cancer Center, patients can “de-stress” and imagine themselves relaxing in pink and purple Adirondack chairs, while overlooking the water. Walton is a breast cancer survivor herself, and art can reduce pain and even speed recovery, according to “The Healing Power of Art” in Remedy magazine (McIntosh, Summer, 2007). A surreal piece like Vanessa Bates’s “Another Day at the Office,” which is a whimsical graphic piece where a giraffe stretches its neck to view outside the only office window, can bring a person out of her current state of mind, and into a smile and curiosity about the art’s content.
“We’d love to expand the program someday by offering art therapy classes for patients,” John Riordan, marketing manager for SCCC states – perhaps by tapping the resources of artists like Walton, who currently offers therapeutic art expression classes to children who have lost family members.
“Art is everywhere in our centers, and it’s what patients see instead of just the clinical experience,” Riordan explains. The centers use art, while at the same time using state-of-the-art “Varian Trilogy Linac” 3-D image-guided radiation therapy equipment. “We will have a ribbon-cutting open house for our Viera Center on August 10th, and we plan on opening up a second floor there, which will give even more space to display the art,” Riordan said. “In addition, we support Lilly’s ‘Oncology on Canvas,’ an art competition where those who are impacted by cancer can express their journey.”
Other sites in the BCA’s “Art in Public Places” service include the Melbourne Airport. As passengers arrive in the gate section, they are greeted and given a taste of “local color” with more of Bates’s whimsical work, amongst other pieces. Lexus of Melbourne auto dealership is another supporter, currently including works from photographer Tony Strong, in addition to painters like Dorothy Rhines and her “Nicolai Fechins Pears.” Art pieces usually are contracted for four months in locations, and then rotated to include more. Works from artist members can be viewed on BCA’s website.
For more information on where to view other current exhibits, or to contract services through “Art in Public Places,” contact BCA Artist Services Coordinator, Lynne Brezina at 321-690-6817 or [email protected]