By Vickie S. Kirby
e say every day that we deal in modalities that have nothing to do with medicine but everything to do with the healing process,” said Ashley Jones ’12. “Our Art Therapists, Music Therapists, Music Practitioners, and Artists-in-Residence strive to enhance the healing experience for each individual patient we encounter. Over the last five years, our Arts in Medicine program has offered patients, visitors, and staff powerful, evidence-based tools that care for the whole person. We’ve touched thousands of lives—helping heal the body, mind, and spirit in a way possible only through the arts.”
Ashley is the Arts in Medicine Program Supervisor at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. She works closely with Susan Sewell Sayles ’78, Arts in Medicine Program Manager, Juliana Lobrecht Crownover ’98, Artist-in-Residence, and volunteer Al Hockaday Jr. ’77, aka Santa, a cancer survivor who donates his time for Christmas parties for the oncology patients. Art Therapist Jodi Nail McKee ’97 had been part of the Baylor team but recently left to begin a similar program elsewhere. The ’Roos don’t make up the whole Arts In Medicine team, but finding so many ’Roos working together was a fun experience for the alumni group.
“Art has the power to transform people,” Ashley said. “Through the combination of talk therapy and art-making, I am able to aid people when they are in their darkest moments and help them see the light.”
Juliana’s role is a bit different than Susan’s and Ashley’s, but when she learned of the program, she wanted to be a part. She is not a therapist, simply an artist. “I paint to share my joy!” she said. “Most of the time I set up in the mezzanine of the Sammons Cancer building and do a painting start to finish. As I am doing so, I am delighted and honored to visit with patients, caregivers, and staff. We share stories inspired by my subject or the process of making art. I have the best job in the world!”
Alumni incorporating art into healing: Susan Sewell Sayles; Santa (Al Hockaday) and his Great Dane reindeer plus Susan, Jodi Nail McKee, and Ashley Jones; Artist-in-Residence Juliana Lobrecht Crownover paints and prepares her materials; Ashley Jones setting up a public space; and Ashley with Santa Al Hockaday. The work at the top of the page was produced by a patient at the hospital.