The Manifold Talents of Nurses Who Are ArtistsMay 5, 2010
By Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor
As the coordinator of AJN’s Art of Nursing department, I’m intrigued by intersections between the two fields: Art and Nursing. About a year ago I profiled several multitalented nurses (The Triple Talents of Some Nurse Bloggers), including Julianna Paradisi, an RN, artist, and writer who blogs about “where science, humanity, and art converge” at JParadisi RN’s Blog. (Her painting Love You to Death appeared on our October 2009 cover.) In March Paradisi launched a second blog, Die Krankenschwester, which emphasizes images. One series depicts rituals followed “From Cradle to Grave”; another considers the iconography of call lights. Paradisi’s work is beautiful and thought-provoking; stop by and have a look.
Recently I happened upon Nurse–Artists International, Inc. Started in 2009 by Kathy Iwanowski, an artist and former oncology and hospice nurse, the organization has an ambitious vision that includes “promoting the arts, humanities, and the therapeutic benefits of creativity in all aspects of life and living,” “creating and collaborating on projects related to arts and health with corporate, educational, healthcare, and other community partners” and “assessing the impact of the arts on health and healthcare costs.” Among its programs are the International Association of Nurse Artists, with membership open to nurses working in any artistic medium; Our Space to Create, a collaborative program for developing arts projects that meet community needs; and the Arts and Health Co-Lab, open to anyone interested in the connection between the arts and health. Iwanowski’s personal Web site offers samples of her found-object sculpture and visual art.
Art by Nurses states that its aim is to “bring nurses together as a community using art as a powerful self-care resource.” Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, it offers members an online venue for showing and selling art. A percentage of works sold goes into an Art Fund for Nurses, to which “any registered nurse can apply for funds to use art as a strategy to maintain balance and meaning in their lives as healers.” Worth a visit simply for its Art Galleries, which include striking photographs and artwork by more than 20 nurse-artists, including founder Lynda MacLeod, Shona Lalonde, and Pasquale Fiore, as well as Catherine Fraser, whose watercolor “Herb Store” was featured on AJN’s August 2007 cover.