September 07, 2017
I am pleased to announce a new program that will bring the arts to our campus and into our daily lives—and will hopefully enrich each of us. “Arts and Resilience,” a monthly program sponsored by the Dean’s Office in collaboration with the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, seeks to link the arts and well-being and is a natural fit for the McGovern Center’s mission, which stresses the importance of the humanistic dimension in medicine. We have been planning this new program for a while—seems especially meaningful in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
One thing I have come to love about my adopted city of Houston is the city’s vibrant arts community—exceptional visual art, music, opera, dance, and theater; amazingly talented artists; and incredible venues for the fine arts and the performing arts. As I read recently in the AAMC News, many medical schools are incorporating the arts into their curriculum. Our medical school is fortunate to be in close proximity to world-class museums and theaters, both big and small.
The experience of art—a beautiful painting, a soulful piece of music, a dramatic aria, a creative theatrical production—enriches each of us by refreshing our imagination and stimulating our own creativity. Moreover, by providing a moment for emotional reflection, art also can enhance our personal well-being. Aristotle put it this way: “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
As busy students, residents, and employees, we don’t have time to enjoy all of the wonderful opportunities that our artistic community offers. Take a moment to enjoy the series we’ve planned for the coming months.
I’m delighted to introduce our inaugural guest artist: Dr. Fady Joudah is a poet and physician who will read and discuss his selected poems. He received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and completed his residency here at McGovern Medical School. His first collection of poems, “The Earth in the Attic” won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition, the nation’s most prestigious award for first books of poetry. He will be interviewed by Fritz Lanham, former books editor of the Houston Chronicle, noon Sept. 13 in MSB 3.001. I hope you all will join us at this first Arts and Resilience event.
Other artists scheduled for this fall include pianist Mark Vogel, artistic director of International Voices Houston, who will perform Oct. 11; choreographer Jane Weiner, who will demonstrate how dance can unlock creativity and promote well-being on Nov. 13; and actor/director/playwright Ruddy Cravens reading from his script, “Wondergirl” Dec. 13. I am looking forward to these incredible artists and can’t wait to see how their performances impact our environment.
A special thank you to Dr. Tom Cole, director of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics, and Dr. William Howze, the director of the program, for bringing this great idea to reality.
Below are a few quotes from artists to remind us of the importance of art:
“To be an artist is to believe in life.” -Henry Moore
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” -Edgar Degas
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” -Leonardo da Vinci
“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.”