The Art of Medicine Shows the Healing Power of the Arts in Cape Breton

An event to showcase how the arts can be used to enhance patient care and well-being will be held later this month.

The Art of Medicine takes place Monday, May 28 at the New Dawn Center for Social Innovation in Sydney. It runs from 7-9 p.m. and is organized by the Cape Breton Cancer Centre.

“The Cancer Centre has a number of projects that use the arts - visual, musical, literary and horticultural - to help our patients contend with their illness and to help others understand the lived experience of being ill,” says Tom McNeil, Medical Social Worker with the Cancer Centre. “The Art of Medicine is an opportunity to showcase some of what we’ve been doing.”

This year, the event highlights the work of Write On! , Paul MacDougall’s creative writing group as well as selections from Shelley Allen’s music therapy group Silent Thunder.

Also featured are a dance performed by Danielle Jessome, in honour of her father Robert; Dr. Julie Sutherland’s talk on bibliotherapy - the use of books, words and storytelling as a healing therapy and a song by Jill Murphy, Music Therapist. The event also includes Jason LeFrense’s film about Paula Graham, a patient whose photography and art was shown in the Art of Medicine and Art of Living programs. Graham passed away in December 2017 after a long battle with her cancer.

“We hope people come away from the Art of Medicine more attentive to the patient’s voice as we try to understand the illness experience,” says McNeil. “The arts can encourage that voice. We just have to listen.”

McNeil adds that it’s the support of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, the Cancer Centre, volunteers, Paul MacDougall, Shelley Allen and most importantly, the patients who share their stories through art that make the event possible.

Art of Medicine is free, with a goodwill offering at the door. Seating is limited so register early. To register, contact 902-567-8556.

Media Contact:
Tom McNeil
Medical Social Worker