Sunday, March 21, 2010

From Science Friday (click here for their site) - Creative Thinking for the Healing Arts

This was taken from the Science Friday Website:

 this is being replicated for educational purposes - intended to share with my students and introduce them to some of the fantastic things found on Science Friday's Art's page

Creative Thinking for the Healing Arts

by Lynn Fellman, Nov 21, 2009
It’s mid-November in Minnesota and 60 degrees. A golden day for one more ride before the snow and ice descend. I keep my bike in my Minneapolis Warehouse District art studio, three blocks from the 45th parallel and the mighty Mississippi River. An amazing biking path follows the river for miles and miles and I’m on it heading downstream to an interesting part of town.
Designing a better healing environment
My destination is Dr. Jon Hallberg’s new Mill City Clinic across from the nationally known Guthrie Theater. As physician on call for visiting performers at the theater, the clinic is in the historic Milling District near the Stone Arch Bridge that crosses the big river. A beautiful part of town recently revitalized to highlight the arts.
Shown above is a view from my favorite bike path along the Mississippi River with a view of the old Mills and the Weisman Museum. Does it look like a watercolor painting? It’s not. I created the image with my digital drawing tools with many transparent layers to get the effect.
You may know Jon Hallberg from his radio show. He’s a medical analyst for Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), on the air every week discussing the art of science and medicine. As a GP physician, Jon says he needs to think creatively to find solutions for his patients’ health but also to design a better healing environment. I step into the clinic and wow… take a breath… decompress. Ah! Chopin is being played on a piano, as it turns out, by a young student from the music school down the street. The waiting area is light and open like the music in the air, reflecting the aesthetic of the outside view.
Shown above on the left is The Guthrie Theater and on the right, a view of Mill Ruins Park and the Stone Arch Bridge crossing the Mississippi River.
Music and science are in his DNA
Jon has thought a lot about creating a soothing place to enable healing. His ideas began in his first year of medical school where he played alto sax in the college orchestra. While reading an article about an injured violinist trying to play in a restrictive neck brace, he wondered if medicine could focus on the needs of creative people. Now years later, he’s known for his medical specialty for actors, musicians, and opera singers.
Jon has found that caring for creative types and respecting medicine as an art compliment each other. Of course, all kinds of regular people attend the clinic and respond to the serenity and beauty of the space. From the art on the walls to music in the air, Jon’s Mill City Clinic is a healthy convergence of art and medicine.
Shown above is the waiting room of Dr. Hallberg’s clinic.
Linking theater and medicine in innovative ways
Another way Jon connects the arts to healing is through his new endeavor, the Hippocrates Cafe. Working with professional actors from the Guthrie Theater, Jon explores medical themes through spoken word and music. The very first Cafe at the clinic will preview this week to an already signed-up audience. The hour-long event is about influenza in its historical and social contexts. I’m one of the lucky ones to see the first presentation. I’ll leave my bike at my studio and bring my sketch book instead to better enjoy an innovative evening of science and art. More about the Hippocrates Cafe, upcoming events and a link to Cafe’s new web site coming soon.
About Lynn Fellman: Lynn Fellman creates art inspired by evolution and genetics, and design and Flash animation for organizations. E-mail Lynn, or check our her work on

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