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Art Heals

Studies have suggested and anecdotal accounts indicate that art may play a significant role in both psychological and physiological aspects of healing. Art can provide patients a soothing, comfortable environment or a stimulating, engaging experience.

In a recent survey of the literature regarding the arts in healthcare research, the National Endowment for the Arts concluded that medical literature shows little controlled research investigating the benefits of art in the healthcare environment. To date, there are no scientific studies testing the physiological impact of visual art experiences on the healing process. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has also pointed out that what information does exist traces back primarily to one researcher, Dr. Roger Ulrich.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery partnered with the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer on a pioneering study that sought to fill this void in our understanding. Through the AK Innovation Lab and ATLAS Lab at Roswell, a collaborative team developed a randomized control trial to investigate the role that art may play in the recovery of cancer patients after surgery.

The research of Art Heals provides valuable insights into the healing process. This high-level scientific evidence has made a significant contribution to better understanding the role of art in the healing process and has provided a model for how hospitals and cultural institutions can collaborate to aid patients.

Sebastiaan Bremer's Schoener Goetterfunken XII, ‘Where thy gentle wing abides’ (Wo dein sanfter Fluegel weilt), 2010. © Sebastiaan Bremer. Courtesy of the artist and Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.

Sebastiaan Bremer's Schoener Goetterfunken II B, 'Daughter of Elysium' (Tochter Aus Elysium), 2010. © Sebastiaan Bremer. Courtesy of the artist and Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.

Initiative Sponsors

The AK Innovation Lab was founded with leadership support from The John R. Oishei Foundation, The Seymour H. Knox Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Program Sponsors

This program was made possible through the generosity of Curbell, Inc. Additional support has been provided by The Dr. and Mrs. Walter Stafford Jr. Fund and Gilbane Building Company.

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