Arts In Healthcare Initiative receives donation from Roswell Institute

The Spectrum

UB's Arts in Healthcare Initiative will continue its philanthropic work after receiving a generous donation over the winter break.

On Jan. 10, 2014, the University at Buffalo Center For the Arts Healthcare Initiative received an $83,200 grant from the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation Quality of Life Committee, which will fund the program for the next three years.

"That came directly from Roswell. They've supported our program from the beginning," said Thomas Burrows, the executive director of the Center For the Arts. "We're in the sixth year now. [Roswell] has always given sufficient funds to pay professional artists, who work at the bedside in the units at [Roswell]."

The program allows 12 Professional Touring Artists from the CFA to assist cancer patients in expressing themselves artistically while also distracting them from the stress that comes with their diagnosis and treatment. Each selected traveling artist strives to create a performance-like atmosphere.

Since 2008, the CFA's Arts in Healthcare Initiative has partnered up with the UB Schools of Social Work and Nursing to serve the Roswell Cancer Institute and Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo.

In the beginning stages of the program, CFA officials reached out to professional artists in the Buffalo community. Following interviews and auditions, the officials selected 12 artists, who completed a two-week summer intensive program that prepared them for entertaining and interacting with patients at bedside.

Although the donation doesn't tie into a specific student benefit, there is a plan to create an opportunity for internships.

"It would requirean academic unit to establish the guidelines for an internship," Burrows said. "We would provide the time for an internship in the hospital or over the summer period or we could have a winter session program. We've been prepared for quite some time to conduct internships for students at UB."

The program has also been funded by The John R. Oishei Foundation, Foundations of Kaleida Health and the Seymour H. Knox Foundation.