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New Roswell Park art offers beauty, therapy for patients and families

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A new rotating art exhibit is opening in Roswell Park Cancer Institute that, hospital officials say, offers yet another opportunity to provide therapy for patients as well as their families.

The newest exhibit, Community Arts Gallery, is available for viewing on the ground level, in a corridor between the main hospital lobby and the Scott Beiler Clinical Sciences Center.

The first round of artwork introduced Wednesday shares a common theme of a nearby neighborhood.

"This particular exhibit features artist from or have connections with the Fruit Belt community, which is directly across Michigan (Avenue) from the Medical Campus," said Molly Bethel, the gallery's curator.

Each of the artists studied at Locust Street Art, formerly known as MollyOlga Art. Most of the works feature depictions of streetscapes in the City of Buffalo. 

"When I was a student at MollyOlga, I used to see this building a lot," she said. "I thought it was amazing, how it was such an enormous building. I was passing by a small house and I see how such a big building and small houses look nice with each other."

The artists who contributed to this opening exhibit are not current or former patients but Dr. Amy Allen Case, who chairs the Supportive Care Program at Roswell Park, says there are programs available through which artists work directly with patients.

The presence of various forms of art, including music, also proves soothing to the families of patients, she explained.

"I think it's scary to come to the hospital. But a lot of families tell us when they come through, they come through these doors and walk down these halls, and they see the bright-colored paintings and I think that makes a scary situation a little less intimidating and more welcoming," Dr. Case said. 

"The artists are talking to you," Bethel said. "Each of the different artforms is a language, whether it's dance or music or visual art like these paintings, and it's a communication."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.