New virtual gallery shines light on mental health benefits of art
For Genoa Healthcare’s 2020 art contest winner Xenia F., of Roma, Texas, painting is an important way to work through her emotions.
“Art is important to me because it helps me control my anxiety, and it helps me express myself,” she said.
The mental health benefits of art — including reduced anxiety, stress and mood disturbances — have been widely recognized. Since 2011, Genoa Healthcare has encouraged awareness of those benefits through an annual, nationwide art contest across its more than 540 pharmacies.
This year, for the first time the contest was conducted entirely online to promote safe and social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumers and center partner staff members submitted over 400 portraits, landscapes, still-lifes and other artworks through an online portal. Genoa Healthcare employees voted virtually for 13 winners, whose pieces will also be featured in a 2021 calendar distributed at Genoa pharmacies.
In another first, artworks of winners and semifinalists will be featured in a virtual gallery for the next 12 months, complete with quotes from their artists about why art is important to them.
“2020 has been an especially challenging year for many of the people we serve,” said Shannon Beaudin Klein, vice president of marketing and communications. “This digital gallery allows us to safely showcase the amazing talent of our consumers and center partner staff, and hopefully will inspire others to use art as a method of healing during this difficult time.”
Creating art can be an effective coping skill that promotes mental health, said Kurt Goglin, an outpatient therapist at Robinson Counseling Center, Genoa Healthcare’s Wilkes-Barr, Pennsylvania center partner.
“Art can make a huge difference in helping people enrich their lives,” Goglin said. “It allows people a break from racing thoughts that overwhelm them, whether by coloring, drawing or taking pictures of nature.”