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The mission statement and explanation of The Arts in Healing Coalition at Atlantic Health System is as follows:

We believe the arts are an essential component to health, healing and well-being. The Healing Arts Program brings literary, performing and visual arts to our patients, staff and the communities we serve.

We facilitate and encourage participation in the healing arts for those who are ill and their caregivers. We support and advance research exploring the benefits and role of the arts in health, healing and well-being.

We embrace and foster artistic collaborations. Members of the coalition educate, inspire and encourage people to participate and share the healing benefits inherent in the creative process.

I had the opportunity to participate in a collaborative mobile sculpture for over an hour while recently at the sponsoring hospital as my mother was off getting tests.

Tables were set up with pots of expensive acrylic paint, brushes of varying sizes, and a picture of the finished project. Tarps were placed on the floor. Already cut shapes of high grade plywood were everywhere. The artist in charge looked up when I said I'd like to do something.

He handed me a pot of blue paint, waved in the direction of the brushes, and gave me a rectangular piece of wood. I chose a larger brush and began painting, as he cautioned everyone what to do if the paint got on our clothes. It was too late for me because not only were my hands dripping blue, but my hair had gotten streaks of bright yellow and bright pink; I didn't even notice or care about my clothes.

This was absolutely plain old fun, so I did three more pieces, totally losing myself in the painting of shapes. Eventually, the painted parts will be connected by wires and hung from a high ceiling above the main entrance to the hospital, as a permanent installation.

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