We may not think of art and health care as a likely pairing, but Studio Art Associate Professor of Practice Megan Hildebrandt believes that there is a strong connection between the two.
In fall 2020, Hildebrandt collaborated with Robin N. Richardson of the Dell Medical School’s Livestrong Cancer Institutes to teach Aesthetics of Health. Persons with lived experience of cancer were invited to visit the class via Zoom to share their unique cancer experiences. Drawing upon these interactions, students created portraits with materials readily available for them at home.
Richard Greene, a third-year Studio Art major, found the project meaningful as it allowed him to examine his experience with counseling, including its strengths and weaknesses, and to explore how it could be more accessible, engaging and destigmatized.
“It was truly a unique experience in that it intersected the lives of real people and our developing art practices to foster a stronger sense of understanding and consideration between us as both artists and people,” he said.
The Visual Arts Center and the Dell Medical School showcased the students’ works in a two-part exhibition this year that explored the students’ connections with and response to those whose lives have been deeply changed by cancer. Hildebrandt, Richardson, Greene and breast cancer survivor and patient advocate with Rebecca Muñoz will present their work at in a SXSWedu panel this spring.
— Cami Yates