Arts naturally lend themselves to the word ‘community’ and phrase ‘community development.’ What does that mean? To me, it means the arts bring us together. Whether it’s because we can all look at a visual art piece and take some personal meaning away from it; we can all listen to a piece of music and feel something from that music; we can collectively participate in the making of a community arts piece here at Sanford and feel that community; or we can participate in the making of a community arts installation and see it in our larger community and think, “I helped make that!”
At Sanford Arts, we offer those opportunities and more. Every day our amazing artists offer community involvement in the least invasive format: viewing creative activities others are doing or the artists are doing. They also offer the most invasive format: becoming the creator! On any given day at the Sanford Cancer Center, we have a visual arts artist creating pieces for patients to take home and enjoy; we have a musician playing music that patients recognize from their childhood or are hearing for the first time; we have a sculptor waiting to teach you how the human figure is sculpted; and we have a wordsmith waiting to hear you share your most cherished memories. And that’s just one random day. Other days feature other artists offering myriad activities, all advancing the goals of community, increased sense of mastery, increased positive outlook (looking forward to things in the future), increased self-esteem and increased mood — while, conversely decreasing boredom, nervousness and stress, and even potentially bringing a decreased sense of pain while working with us.
The arts indeed lead to community development and our work at Sanford Arts is just a small contribution to a more positive, less bored, less stressed patient, family, caregiver and staff community. If you are a patient, family member or a caregiver, look for a Sanford Arts artist in your waiting area, or call us so that we can continue to build that sense of community and celebrate our Sanford community members like you!