A Labor of Love Reaches a Pinnacle, almost…


Or…playing baseball up a mountain, sort of…

 Four years ago, while working as a cardiac nurse and a botanical art teacher, I started to think about how the two fields worked together. What did they have in common and how could they benefit each other? Brainstorming with friends, co-workers and fellow artists led to some ideas. Realizing how art makes a difference in my life and hearing the same from those around me, an idea began to form. Eventually, some semblance of a plan came together.

First, the plan was thrown at the Assistant Manager, who instead of throwing it back, grabbed the ball and threw in more shape to the plan. From the Assistant Manager, the ball was thrown to the Manager, and again it was caught. The Manager wanted to take the project to a larger scale and suggested it be thrown to the Director of Nursing Research, where it hit a home run. Then, the climb began.

Over the next two years, steady climbing continued. The plan formed into a research project to determine if the work of artists, who also work in cardiac healthcare, could help cardiac patients. Many logistical issues arose. Trails were blazed. Battles were fought. Problems were solved. A team was formed to continue the climb. Some team members came and went but a few managed to stay the course from start to finish. One team member took on the role of leading the ground game. Through ups and downs, support for the project never wavered.

Eventually, we were able to measure how the staff-created art made a difference to the post-operative care of cardiac patients. It was a grand day when we were finally to the point of hanging the art. Once in place, we found the art made a difference to the staff, not just the art-makers, but to all the staff, as well as, the patients. Though a high point was reached, it was not the highest point. We still wanted to share our labor of love with others, in hopes that they, too, could do what we did. Thus began the next phase of the climb.

To share with others, the story had to be told. A new team came together from other players on the project and an account was written. Then rewritten. Then written some more. Finally, the project was thrown out into a bigger stadium. The first throw was a strike out. After a huddle produced some fresh rewriting, the project was thrown out again. This time it was caught at first base. More work got it to second base, then to third. Now it is slow walking to home plate having been accepted as a hit. The pinnacle is in sight. Publication will happen!


More on Phase Two of the Art to Heart Project can be found at: www.arttoheartproject.com

Phase One of the Art to Heart Project has been accepted and is now awaiting publication. (Yea!!) Can I breathe now?

Author: MaryGwyn

Artist-Art Educator-Art in Healthcare

10 thoughts on “A Labor of Love Reaches a Pinnacle, almost…”

      1. OH, Luv, I know the feeling well … tears in my eyes .. for they are there right now. It’s tough to change this world and those of us who do it, well, when we hear words of encouragement and recognition, they mean so much to us. I really am proud of you. I too am a nurse and understand the medical field. You do have your work cut out for you. Don’t quit! I will be here to cheerlead you on!! (((HUGS))) Amy

  1. This is totally wonderful. There can be few things as rewarding as what you’re writing of, M-G – and for everyone concerned. I am full of admiration; and will be, I have no doubt at all, more so in a while 🙂

    1. Thanks , M-R!! There were times I didn’t think we’d get there but we managed to hold on. You wouldn’t think there would be so much but there was. If I knew then what I know now it might not have ever gotten started!

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