From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
Local nonprofit Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is launching its Art Advisory service this month. “Portfolio,” an exhibit pegged to the launch and featuring all of the artists participating in the service, will open at the Center’s Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, on Friday, September 14.
The service draws on the principles of Evidence-Based Design, which has found that a patients’ environment can impact the healing process. The idea to create Art Advisory evolved from Smith Center’s Artist-in-Resident program.
Through this program, artists engaged more than 4,000 patients in area hospitals, including Howard University Hospital and Walter Reed Military Medical Center, with their writing, music and visual art. The patients reaped short-term benefits from the artistic therapy, and the Center sought to a more permanent method of improving patient environments in these hospitals.
The Smith Center put out a national call for artists to participate in the Art Advisory more than a year ago. From among over 250 artists who responded to the call, Smith Center chose 20 artists. According to Brooke Seidelman, Director of Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, these artist’s works hold the capacity to “inspire, uplift and offer viewers a healing escape” and challenge the staid notions of trite “hospital art.”
Seidelman will serve as the Art Advisory’s primary consultant, working alongside Executive Director Shanti Norris to provide consulting expertise to clients. Both have extensive experience curating collections and have previously created a collection for Howard Hospital’s Cancer Center.
As for who the clients will be, the service will cater to individual private collectors, corporations, healthcare organizations and hospitals. The group of participating artists was deliberately selected for variety in artistic approach, style, and medium that will accommodates clients’ unique needs and aesthetic preference. Clients will be able to commission works from the artists and also choose from among their existing works.
By channeling 70 percent of the Art Advisory’s proceeds back into the Center’s programs, the nonprofit will also generate a new source of funding for its many initiatives to help cancer patients. Right now, it is reliant on grants and individual and corporate donations, which have all been harder to come by during the recession. Seidelman noted that the Center is “now particularly hopeful that by diversifying our financial sources the Advisory service will offer greater financial support to our vital cancer programs.”
“Portfolio” will run from Friday, September 14 until October 27. Visit Smith Center at 1632 U Street, NW for the opening reception on Friday from 7 to 9 pm, or during gallery hours (Wednesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) to see the exhibit and learn more about the new Art Advisory service.