October 21, 2022

Art in Medicine’s in-person events and art installations strengthen connection between student creativity and medical education

Sketches of the human form from a workshop hosted by Art in Medicine, are display in the student art gallery in Mazurek Medical Education Commons.

A new exhibit depicting student sketches of the human form is now displayed in the Art in Medicine gallery on the third floor of the Mazurek Medical Education Commons at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Art in Medicine partnered in May with Wayne State’s Department of Art and Art History in a new collaboration at the School of Medicine to give medical students the opportunity to learn about the human form through a different lens.

Artist Cara Young showcases a human form she sketched ahead of leading a workshop for medical students.

Students learned the basics of how to sketch the human form using a live human nude model. The drawing instruction was led by Cara Young, a recent Master of Fine Arts graduate who specializes in human form painting and drawings. Young guided students through the basics before hopping into the full form sketching. With a live nude model, she demonstrated how to draw a dynamic human figure in minutes by emphasizing gesture and line art rather than fine detail and artistic refinement. After the demonstration, “students were able to draw the posing nude figure in three- to 10-minute sessions,” said Art in Medicine President and M.D.-Ph.D. candidate Ashley Kramer.

“Interestingly, at the beginning of the session, some students reported being intimidated by their beginner art skills. By the end, these students felt satisfied with their work and most submitted their final pieces for hanging in the medical school art gallery. Moreover, students were hopeful that these sessions would continue,” she added.

The current gallery display is the latest example in a series of events Art in Medicine, a student organization at the School of Medicine, has participated in as part of the Arts Integration in Medical Education Group formed by the School of Medicine and Department of Art and Art History.

“Some even stated that they would appreciate a lesson that focused on drawing cadavers to better understand anatomy and pay tribute to the incredible privilege of studying from the donated ‘first patients’ that the students get to learn from, a very pivotal experience for most medical students. All in all, the first life drawing session in recent years was a great achievement that demonstrated the unique relationship between the two academic departments,” Kramer said.

Art in Medicine has been staying active and busy despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2021, in collaboration with the Latin Medical Student Association, the group organized a tour of painter Frida Kahlo’s artistic history. Karla Escobar, former president of LMSA, and Young, presented her works in a format that explored how Kahlo’s extensive experience as a patient in the health care system shaped some of her most impactful work, and her time in Detroit while her partner Diego Rivera was working on the famous Rivera court in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Then, medical students were guided through painting their own introspective Frida Kahlo-inspired activity on recycled glass panes by Young. The glass panes were recycled from an old research lab, and before the invention of the digital camera, were used to develop images of histological slides for scientific presentation in the 1960s.

Students show off the human form sketches they created in a workshop hosted by Art in Medicine.

Event supplies were provided by the School of Medicine Medical Alumni Association’s fund for student organizations. In addition, the Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development led by Basim Dubaybo, M.D., provided funds for Young’s instruction and the nude model for life drawing. The events were planned and facilitated by School of Medicine student leaders.

To learn more about Art in Medicine’s upcoming events, and to recover your pieces from the Frida Kahlo event or the recent photo gallery, email AimBoard2022@groups.wayne.edu.

“We will be sending information on how to pick up your gallery display pieces in the next two weeks,” Kramer said. “Please reach out if you do not hear from us in case we have inaccurate information. Lastly, our executive board app will be coming out soon if you are interested in helping plan future events like this.”

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