Patients Process Health Issues Through Art In TMA Exhibit
By REBECCA HOEFFNER
When Rick Gibbons' doctor prayed with him at Bethesda Health Clinic in Tyler, Gibbons saw a vision when he closed his eyes, he said.
"I saw the image of the Lord over the clinic with His hands stretched out," he said. "I couldn't wait to put it on paper."
The piece inspired by Gibbons' vision, along with other pieces by doctors, patients and volunteers from the nonprofit Christian clinic in Tyler, are on display at the Tyler Museum of Art until May 27 as part of "The Healing Arts" exhibit.
"There is mounting evidence that all forms of creative expression can be helpful in the healing process, and we hope that our collaboration with Bethesda will strengthen both organizations' ability to serve our community," said Kimberley Tomio, Tyler Museum of Art director, in a written release.
The organizations have been collaborating on the project since Ms. Tomio approached the executive director of Bethesda, Dr. John English, in Oct. 2010.
"This is a great opportunity for our patients and volunteers to express their thoughts and feelings by creating artwork," Dr. English said. "I think when people can talk through their health issues, it's very beneficial, and some people express themselves through their art and process their health that way.
Gibbons, who has a job in maintenance at Grace Fellowship Church in Flint, first learned about Bethesda three years ago when he started struggling with high blood pressure. He went back about a month ago when he started losing weight rapidly. Doctors at Bethesda suspect he has diabetes -- while a normal blood-sugar level is about 100, his was at 431, he said.
He is still waiting on the test results to determine what type of diabetes he has, but he's already responding well to diabetes medication.
"They were very reassuring that everything was fine and was going to be fine," he said. "It's a place where they really care. I was glad they wanted to pray with me, most doctors just want to get you in and out."
A gala fundraising event for the organizations will be at 6 p.m. on May 17 at the museum, showcasing the exhibit. Latin jazz harpist Carlos Guedes will provide the music, and drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be served. Tickets for the gala are $75 per person, but sponsorships are available.
The museum will also hold a free reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on May 19. The event includes family activities and refreshments, and is open to the public.
Gibbons used crayon, ink, and pencil on his piece. He wanted to incorporate many elements as he could, he said.
"I appreciate the honor, and I'm truly grateful to the Bethesda Health Clinic," he said. You expect to come to a museum and see Mona Lisas and fancy stuff. It's great that they allow the community to be involved."