WWU Students Participate in ‘Healing Art’ Workshop

Students from William Woods University recently made the drive to St. Louis to lend their time and artistic abilities to patients at St. John’s Mercy Hospital in a “Healing Art” workshop.

The workshop was held Feb. 11 at the hospital’s David Pratt Center. Terry Martin, professor of art, and Harriet Yelon, associate professor of social work, organized the event for patients whose lives had been touched by cancer in one form or another.

Art education students Dustin Harper of Moravia, Iowa, and Stephanie Strother of Fulton, Mo.; graphic design student Rachel Smith of Florissant, Mo.; social work students Stacey Shirley and Laura Tenney, both of Fulton, Mo., and WWU alumnus Nicole Heidbreder participated.

The main project of the day was to create “memory boxes,” in the style of the well-known artist Joseph Cornell. Some created theirs to hold the photos of their 50th wedding anniversary, and some to remember a lost loved one. WWU students helped the patients through the process.

“My students were very attentive, emphatic, and worked well with the workshop participants,” said Martin.

Martin said the students even elaborated on their powerful experiences during the long drive back to Fulton, and they all seemed to agree that the day had been more than worthwhile.

The art professor hopes that there will be similar experiences in the future, in order for people to better understand the therapeutic value of art.