April 16, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Art Display Can Impact Public Health

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department unveils an exhibit of original artwork, in partnership with the Springfield Regional Arts Council’s Art in Public Places program. The display focuses on nature, and seeks to provide another tool in the work belt of public health.

“We recognize that art can play an important role in health and wellness for many people,” says health department administrator Kevin Gipson. “Studies have shown, and patients have testified, that art can relieve pain, improve attitudes and transform grief.”

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) cites a study published in 1984 in which patients undergoing cholecystectomies in a suburban Pennsylvania hospital between 1972 and 1981 were placed in rooms with either a window view of a brick wall or a view of a grove of fully leaved trees. The 23 patients with the view of trees recovered more quickly, used less pain medication and suffered fewer complications from surgery than the 23 patients whose windows faced the brick wall.

Art has also been used successfully in campaigns to address HIV/AIDS. A prime example is the AIDS quilt, which has been showcased around the nation.  Other successful art therapies include utilizing storytelling, writing, drawing, puppets, theatre and clowns.

“Health care institutions across the nation recognize that art has a powerful effect on how we feel,” adds Gipson. “Although the science is still unfolding, patient testimonials speak volumes about how the impact of art on health. We hope the artwork currently displayed in our facility will add yet another piece to the multi-piece puzzle that helps our clients live longer, happier, healthier lives.”

The Art in Public Places collection will be on display through May 25th at the Westside Public Health Center, located at 660 S Scenic in Springfield. The public is invited to view the artwork and meet artist Rosalie Perryman at an artist’s reception to be held Monday, April 20th from 3:00 – 6:00 pm.

For more information, contact: Jaci McReynolds, Public Information Administrator (417) 874-1205 office • (417) 830-9511 cell

springfield greene county health department
city of springfield and greene county logos

Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 • health.springfieldmo.gov