Art Heals

Apr 14, 2023

Dana Casadei, Media Relations Specialist

There’s a lot one might notice walking around the different wings of the Angela Hospice Care Center: signs for upcoming Angela Hospice events, different memorials for loved ones who have passed, and the art hanging on the walls.

In colors as unique as their mediums, those works of art adorn the entrances to each patient wing, giving a moment of tranquility to those visiting someone they care about, and for staff as well, coming and going during a shift in the Care Center or passing through from the administrative building.

Bringing a moment of lightness is just the hope of the woman who curates these pieces for Art at Angela: Mary Cline.

“It’s something near and dear to my heart,” Mary said about Art at Angela. “Having had parents go through hospice, and being an artist myself, oftentimes, it’s like, how can you make your work have a purpose? So, it was kind of a perfect blend.”

While Mary is currently running the program, it didn’t start with her. It began in 2018 when then Angela Hospice President and CEO, Margot Parr, had the idea to showcase the work of local artists in the Care Center. Then – in a moment of serendipity – she met someone in the community who connected her with the Visual Arts Association of Livonia. From there, the program was led by two key people, Sister Margaret Platte and Ann Cleary, the latter of which is not only still involved in the program, but Mary’s sister.

The group was rotating pieces about once a quarter, but then, COVID put a blunder in that plan, making it difficult to keep up with that schedule. Those pieces that were still up stayed up, creating a makeshift gallery among the halls, a museum of sorts dedicated to keeping the arts full of light and color.

“Art is necessary for not only the people who are grieving or going into hospice, but also necessary for the staff,” Mary said.

Then VAAL dissolved in January 2022, and even though they were gone, Mary – who had been Vice President of VAAL – decided this program was too important to stop. So, she kept going, calling artist friends and collecting pieces.

“Art is necessary for not only the people who are grieving or going into hospice, but also necessary for the staff,” Mary said.

Studies have shown that looking at art has lots of benefits, including easing anxiety and depression, making one less focused on their own mental and physical pain, while also having the ability to reduce caregiver stress and promote general well-being.

The art selected is primarily from those who are local, making it easy for them to get their art to Mary or drop them off at Angela Hospice. She looks for artwork that create a perfect harmony together, an eclectic blend that people can stop and look at, even if for just a few minutes.

This art has been known to open up a conversation between others as well.

Mary mentioned that once she had a friend whose family was at Angela Hospice. Her friend then noticed one of Mary’s paintings on the walls, and told her she had seen it. This opened the door for a beautiful conversation about how the woman was feeling about having a loved one on hospice. They shared and cried together, all because of a piece of art that Mary had created.

“I know that art heals,” she said.

The current Art at Angela exhibit is on display now through September throughout the Angela Hospice Care Center.

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