Better Health Through Art

  • Professor Ron Fondaw assists Colton Carter with installation.
    Professor Ron Fondaw assists Colton Carter with installation.
  • Installation at Affinia Healthcare on South Broadway.
    Installation at Affinia Healthcare on South Broadway.
  • Work by Wei Huang.
    Work by Wei Huang.
  • Work by Riley Williams.
    Work by Riley Williams.
  • Work by Sam Carpenter.
    Work by Sam Carpenter.
  • Work by Colton Carter.
    Work by Colton Carter.

In this graduate art workshop, MFA students created works of art for permanent installation at the Affinia Healthcare facility on South Broadway in St. Louis. Building on the idea that every emotion has a corresponding chemical release, students sought to produce pieces that could evoke positive emotions from viewers, contributing to their well-being.

The workshop followed a model of research and implementation for public artwork that builds on a specific context, environment, and client— an essential skill for professional development. Over the course of several visits, students got to know the site and client; research included interviews of healthcare staff, administration, and patients. They then developed individual proposals for artworks, which they presented to a committee of clinic staff for feedback. The final four pieces were created on campus at WashU and installed at the clinic at the end of the semester. The hope is that each piece will be embraced by the community at the clinic, providing a more positive environment for years to come. For instance, Sam Carpenter's interactive piece, bugsamoungus, allows children to move magnetic ants through a tunnel system. Wei Huang created a series of photographs of water responding to vibrations from recordings of challenging social, political, or historical moments, creating beautiful surface patterns made visible by the reflection of lights.

Student Participants

Sam Carpenter
Colton Carter
Wei Huang
Riley Williams

Partners

Affinia Healthcare

Support

Support for this project was provided through a Civic Engagement Fund Community-Engaged Teaching Grant from the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.