a practice of art-making…with the medical students

Cynthia Standley, Director of Art in Medicine, reaches out to see if I am interested in facilitating another Art and Anatomy Workshop for first-year students at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine.

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I am. Yes!


Day 1: Thursday
I arrive to a classroom that includes a variety of art supplies (traditional and non-traditional) as well as a selection of medical models available for reference. Medical students enter the classroom and I can feel their excitement.

I introduce myself and speak about the general purpose of the workshop. Many students are here to make an artwork for their Ceremony of Appreciation, in honor of their willed body donors. Others are here only because they want to make art. Everyone is welcome.

Supplies have been chosen and almost immediately, I see some students begin to put something down on drawing paper. They’ve arrived, eager and prepared.

We have a thoughtful, creative and fun-filled afternoon. Below, I share process shots as well as completed artworks.

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There’s a little fashion mixing it up with the optic chiasm.

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The bronchial tree.

I move from student to student, discussing each composition, including materials, form and content. I get a good sense of their ideas as well as their observation skills. I also appreciate and enjoy their imagination. 

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Day 1 comes to an end with a photo of a few of the participants and their art.

Day2: Friday
On this second day, a larger group arrives. I’m please to see some students from the day before.

The workshop begins with introductions, followed by another afternoon of art-making.

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In each eye is a galaxy…

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I see a labyrinth…

 

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Happy Digestive System

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Carefully representing areas of the brain.

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Wonderful work is completed!

I hope each of you had fun and learned something that you didn’t know before.

Here is what I learned:
Tea bags (of all shapes) can be used as a collage element! #VeryCool
I now know, the smallest bone in the body is called the stapes. It was pointed out to me by a student and discussed with the group at the table. #HelpingMeToRemember
I better understand how students learn from their body donor. I got a sense of the subtle way in which human connection is formed. #Honor

Thanks to everyone who participated. Thank you Cindi, for inviting me back.
My best to each of you.
#Appreciation #Creativity #Observation #Fun #ArtAndMedicine


©2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

art school in med school – we workshop

Arriving to the University of Arizona College of Medicine with a plan to meet with first year medical and health professional students, I take a moment to look out over a cloudy downtown Phoenix…noting lots of change in the last 12 months.

I’ve not seen Cindi, Director of Art in Medicine, since my solo-exhibition last Winter. We connect in the Health Science Education Building, catching up in the elevator as we head to a classroom.

She fills me in on the art supplies and she’s not kidding – good stuff awaits.

I’m pleased to see Rebecca, the director of the Clinical Anatomy Lab. Participating in the workshop a second time. She shares the idea she considers as well as the personal experience behind it.

I feel the excitement as students walk in and see the art supplies. An independent bunch, they pick out some things and begin to set up at a desk.

I make a quick introduction and give them general direction as I show samples of my work. We have a few hours together this afternoon, prepared and confident, there is no hesitation to begin drawing.

Students are near the end of their Clinical Anatomy Block and are preparing for the program’s annual Ceremony of Appreciation. The February evening will celebrate and honor their cadaver donors with a night of art, prose and music.

Those interested in visual art-making are here today.

Participants  use color-copies, computers and medical models to support their drawing. Most important they bring to the table a personal experience.

One by one everyone begins to draw. I move through the room to connect with them – they each share a thoughtful characteristic about their particular donor.

One student describes her donor’s hands. The drawing will hold the experience as well as  allow her to share it.

Another talks to me about the vertebrae of the neck. The top 2 bones are different from the others, she notes. Her composition is high contrast and I see her line work is fluid.  You like to draw, don’t you?  She nods her head and says yes.

I gather from conversation everyone is busy with a full schedule. They appreciate this time and place to focus on making art.

Soon the afternoon comes to an end. While no one completely finishes, everyone is well on their way.

I learn some new things….among which are the papillary muscles ↑ and the  chordae tendineae. Yes, we really do have heart-strings!

The last few months I start to consider everyone’s anatomy must differ. In particular, I consider the liver and wonder how its form varies from person to person.

One student confirms the uniqueness of every individual human body. We are different inside and out. She details the liver and the lungs and shares a general impression noting the human body’s truly organic nature.  Her peers confirm. It’s a wonder – what they describe.


On a side note:
I  continue to find connection between individuals interested in the arts and in the sciences. We share a quality of discipline and have careful observation skills, among other things.

As I walk around the room I find a model of the eye that’s been left on the shelf. It’s the  perfect connecting symbol for this art school in med school afternoon workshop.

Best to all of you – and to the dignity and honoring of each of your donors.


The evening before the workshop, in my studio I listen to Fresh-Air. An interview begins which honors another type of donor:
A Surgeon Reflects On Death, Life And The ‘Incredible Gift” of Organ Transplant