For Immediate Release: March 5, 2014
Eight local artists visited AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center February 19 to view their photography, on display in the public art space at ARMC City Campus. For some, it was the first time they had work publically displayed or had even considered themselves artists. "I didn't think I was a photographer," said Marie DeVincent, of Atlantic City, as she addressed the group, "but maybe I am!"
The group of seniors came together over the summer of 2013 as part of The Arts and Healthcare Initiative of the NJ State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the South Jersey Cultural Alliance (SJCA) and the AtlantiCare Healing Arts Program. Seniors from Atlantic City and surrounding communities embarked on the eight week photography class, led by photographer Sean Fitzgerald, of Absecon, who has taught the class each year since the program began in 2008. Members took photos individually in their neighborhoods or at favorites haunts, and regrouped to review and discuss their work.
"Photography helps people focus on what is important to them and gives them a way to capture it, and share it with others in a different way than just with words," said Caz Boyd, Arts Education manager, SJCA. "The Arts and Healthcare Initiative provides valuable art experiences to persons who might otherwise be unable to benefit from the restorative impact of the arts. I think it opens people up, it allows others to see the way they see."
Art – and the transformation of person into artist – is not the only outcome of the class, held at the HG Rosin Center in Atlantic City, part of the Jewish Older Adult Services (JOAS). Fitzgerald said that the group's members "learn about each other through the photographs that they make. Each brings his or her own personal aesthetic to the photography and the result is a unique vision. The work we have done together has also created lasting friendships."
Rose Schwartz, of Atlantic City, has taken the class three times. "It's a great way to meet new people," she said, "especially people with similar interests and people who are looking to make friends. I've met so many nice people." A Holocaust survivor, Schwartz takes nothing for granted. "It's an opportunity to learn, and it is exciting to see our pictures developed. Making art is like a medicine."
Now in its fifth year, the program is scheduled to continue this summer at JOAS. The group's photos will be on display at AtlantiCare through March 2014.
About AtlantiCare's Healing Arts Program
Through its Healing Arts Program, AtlantiCare incorporates artwork in the healthcare setting with a goal of creating a healing, serene environment. AtlantiCare dedicates one percent of all new building costs to the commission of artwork by local and regional artists. The Program includes a public art exhibition featuring local and regional artists in the George F. Lynn Harmony Pavilion at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Atlantic City Campus. For information, call 1-888-569-1000, visit www.atlanticare.org or find AtlantiCare on Facebook.
About the South Jersey Cultural Alliance
The South Jersey Cultural Alliance in a non-profit service organization with 120 members representing nonprofit arts, history and cultural organizations. The mission of the South Jersey Cultural Alliance is to strengthen non-profit arts, history and cultural organizations within southern New Jersey's eight counties through collaborative efforts in advocacy, technical assistance, marketing and professional and resource development. SJCA envisions a region where individuals of all ages and backgrounds are engaged and enriched through arts, history and culture, and where communities prosper through a creative economy. For more information on SJCA, visit www.sjca.net or call (609) 645-2760.
About The Arts and Healthcare Initiative of the NJ State Council on the Arts
Founded in 2008, The Arts and Healthcare Initiative of the NJ State Council on the Arts teaches basic photography skills to seniors through an eight week class. The program is co-sponsored by South Jersey Cultural Alliance (SJCA) and the AtlantiCare Healing Arts Program, and is held at the Jewish Older Adult Services HG Rosin Center in Atlantic City.
AtlantiCare is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,221 employees and more than 700 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.
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