Can art cure? This was discussed at a meeting in Rome

Can art be a therapy tool to be used in patient care? This was discussed at a meeting at the Carlo Bilotti Museum in Rome. Here are the positions of those who attended.

Canart be a tool for medical therapy? This possibility was discussed last September 7 in Rome at a meeting organized by Fondazione Bracco in collaboration with Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS - Gemelli ART at the Carlo Bilotti Museum, as part of the exhibition Ritratte. Women of Art and Science.

The event featured Vincenzo Valentini, Director of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Radiation Oncology and Hematology at Policlinico Gemelli, Alfonsina Russo, Director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park and Enzo Grossi, physician and Scientific Advisor of Bracco Foundation. The initiative aimed to highlight the scientific perspective on the beneficial effects of art in medicine and patient care, presenting the cultural welfare studies developed by Bracco Foundation since 2011 and the Art4ART Project at Policlinico Gemelli. The topic was also explored through a complementary perspective, dedicated to the beneficial dimensions of an art venue, with the report of the Director Archaeological Park of the Colosseum, pictured in the exhibition that hosted the meeting.

“Today’s meeting is just the latest stage in a journey that Fondazione Bracco began more than a decade ago,” said Diana Bracco, president of Fondazione Bracco. “In fact, we have been investigating the curative value of art and music for so many pathologies since 2011. I personally have always believed in it, and today it has been proven by numerous population studies in different countries that attending museums, concerts, theaters, cinemas, and exhibitions increases the perception of one’s well-being and is good for the person. In other words, culture improves the individual’s quality of life. And this is also true for patients facing the difficult journey of treatment. I am really proud that Gemelli’s Art4ART platform has also welcomed photographs, films and stories from our exhibition Ritratte: I hope that the biographies of these great women can enthuse many patients and, above all, many girls.”

The Art4ART Project, born in 2019 within the Center for Radiation Oncology Therapy at the Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS - Gemelli ART (Advanced Radiation Therapy) Foundation, is part of the strand dedicated to art that has seen, over time, treatment rooms transformed into environments that reproduce places from ancient Rome, a large aquarium with an attached submarine for young patients or to listen to music chosen by the patient through the use of innovative technologies.

“Our first goal is to welcome and accompany our patients in the strenuous journey of treatment, making available the beauty of Art and Nature, in its many expressions.” said Vincenzo Valentini, Director of Gemelli ART. “The goal is to offer a beautiful, well-kept, attractive context, able to activate the emotional and motivational resources hidden in each of us to encourage conscious participation in therapy and allow an authentic relationship with the entire health care staff. Art is not only a welcoming and entertaining tool, but a real tool of care. We have in recent years collected a lot of scientific evidence that supports the validity of this approach. The peculiarity of Gemelli ART, in fact, is that it is a hospital center in which the combination of art, technology and care is realized, and all this with the aim of advancing the humanization of care and accompanying and healing better with the beauty of art the patients who come to Policlinico Gemelli in a challenging phase of their lives.”

The relationship between personal well-being and cultural enjoyment is a priority issue for the Bracco Foundation: since 2011, the Foundation has launched projects aimed at disseminating scientific evidence and encouraging cultural enjoyment in places of care. In particular, the combination of art and science, conceived as a relationship of continuous exchange between knowledge, is a specific focus of investigation.

“The scientific advances of different disciplines such as bio-psycho-social science, the science of wellbeing, the science of stress and neuroimaging, have converged very strongly allowing the birth of a real science of beauty,” said Enzo Grossi, Scientific Advisor of Fondazione Bracco. “This has effectively allowed biological plausibility to be given to the growing scientific evidence on the role of art and culture in promoting the well-being and health of the general population, and as a supplementary or substitute support to drugs for sick people, hence the concept of cultural welfare. Exposure to beauty, variously understood, improves the individual’s quality of life substantially, even to the point of effective extension of life expectancy, reducing the risk of serious degenerative diseases.”

Finally,Alfonsina Russo, Director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park, presented Salus per artem, a project created to promote the idea of culture as a factor improving quality of life. Launched in 2018, it is based on the conviction, now also scientifically established, that the participation of people in activities in direct contact with the harmony, of which monuments and works of art are bearers, can generate well-being; and to benefit especially are audiences with special needs. Under the banner of the universal right to beauty, over time the initiatives of “Salus per artem” have therefore gradually developed and enriched in content, involving the many associations in the area that deal daily with different types of disabilities and social hardship.

Can art cure? This was discussed at a meeting in Rome
Can art cure? This was discussed at a meeting in Rome

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