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SoCalATA and Institute for Arts in Medicine (IAM) Present Prescribing Art: A Path to Healing

November 9, 2019 @ 4:00 am - January 26, 2020 @ 9:00 am

The USC IGM Art Gallery is pleased to collaborate with the Southern California Art Therapy Association (SoCalATA) and the USC Institute for Art in Medicine (I AM) as this collaboration depicts our mission to serve as an art-framed forum for open-minded, deliberative discussions on complex social issues that interface with the creative process and findings of research in molecular biology, technology, health and social systems. The mission of the SoCalATA is to serve its members and the general public by supporting standards of professional competence, developing and promoting knowledge in and of the field of art therapy within Southern California.

Please click on the top photograph to start the slide show with captions –>

The SoCalATA  is a diverse community of professional art therapists dedicated to healing arts and the art of healing.  Art therapists integrate art, the creative process, and psychological theories in a variety of health, community, and educational settings with populations spanning from infants to older adults. SoCalATA aims to advocate for art therapy services and the advancement of the art therapy profession by engaging in activities and collaborations that expand art therapy access, education, and services provided by professionally trained art therapists. The goal is promote art therapy for the benefit of all.

IAM, which celebrated its official launch in March, has three goals: to offer patients the opportunity to participate in the expressive arts in a variety of settings, including outpatient, inpatient, individual and group sessions; to conduct research that explores the benefits of art therapy and other creative modalities through clinical trials; and to develop educational programs in art therapy for USC students.

“Research is very important because we want to validate creative interventions in the care of patients,” said Dr. Pinski. “At USC, we have the infrastructure to conduct clinical trials to study this form of intervention and measure outcomes.”

Dr. Pinski is joined by Paige Asawa, Ph.D., LMFT, ATR-BC, who serves as the Clinical and Academic Education Director for IAM. “Many patients diagnosed with cancer are experiencing psychological components they may have never encoutered in their lives,” said Dr. Asawa. “Art therapy helps the patient access what’s happening within them that they don’t have the words to describe. We want to show that by using these treatments, we’re helping people heal both physically and psychologically through the art process.”

“There’s no question that certain medical procedures and chemotherapy are associated with stress,” says Dr. Pinski, adding to Dr. Asawa’s statement. “Stress is correlated with the immune system which plays a critical role in keeping cancer under control.”

IAM is developing research studies to track patient responses to cutting-edge, arts-based care services. These include virtual reality studies aiming to decrease anxiety and pain perception during uncomfortable procedures. These include bone marrow biopsy and prostate biopsy. While wearing a VR headset, patients may select from a menu of immersive musical and visual environments.

“We will measure anxiety levels, depression levels, and stress hormone levels in patients receiving virtual reality, expressive arts therapy, humor therapy or meditation through guided imagery, and compare those patients to a non-intervention, control group,” Dr. Pinski said of another study, focused on hospitalized inpatients receiving chemotherapy.

Moving forward, IAM plans to extend its expressive arts therapy services to other patient populations, such as patients with Alzheimer’s, as well as to physicians and medical staff at risk of burnout. IAM is also developing internship opportunities for graduate art therapy students to interact with patients; and creating wellness events for Keck School faculty and staff.

“I’ve always believed that merging art with medicine would benefit patients,” says Dr. Pinski. “To be successful in science, you have to be a little creative.”

Prescribing Art: A Path to Healing is SoCalATA’s 4th annual art show and first collaboration with the Institute for Arts in Medicine.  The Prescribing Art: A Path to Healing exhibition’s purpose is to make visible what has been invisible to many up to now- Art Heals!

This is being accomplished by:

·       Showcasing the healing power of art through the creative works of professional art therapists, art therapy supporters, and those impacted directly by art therapy services.

·       Elevating the ability of the creative process to communicate, connect, and emotionally process the recovery experience.

·       Promoting art-making as maintenance for the health and well-being of both the healthcare provider as well as those receiving art therapy services.

Art Heals at the level of individual, family, and community.

Learn more about the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center’s and IAM’s $50,000 grant to facilitate innovative, sustainable patient care CLICK HERE

Prescribing Art will be open to the public Mondays – Fridays from 8 am to 6 pm., except when USC is closed for the holidays.  The exhibition closes to the public on Friday, January 24 at 5 pm.  For more information, call 213-705-7489


November 9, 2019 @ 4:00 am
January 26, 2020 @ 9:00 am


Institute for Genetic Medicine Art Gallery
2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033-9075