Through the Expressive Arts Discovery Program, a special partnership has been forged between the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare – Flagstaff and the Dry Creek Arts Fellowship. Now in its 8th year, the Program complements individual medical treatments and promotes healing through free artistic workshops. Cancer patients, at various stages of treatment and recovery, have the opportunity to engage their imaginations, meet other patients, and have some fun.
On a warm sunny day in October 2005, the Dry Creek Arts Fellowship embarked on an exciting adventure down the path of a new program. The audience did not go to a Trappings exhibition or a lecture; they were driven to Doc’s Ranch in Parks, Arizona. Thirteen patients from the Flagstaff Cancer Center cautiously got off the hospital courtesy van. Friendly dogs roamed underfoot, and curious horses appraised the strangers from inside a corral made of aspen logs. Magic was made that day with fifty rolls of black & white film, Holga cameras, six rescue horses, cornbread, and fresh cider. So began the Expressive Arts Discovery Program.
Since that first workshop, patient artwork has been celebrated in multiple public receptions at the Flagstaff Cancer Center. To date, fourteen creative workshops, offered free of charge to over 200 patients, have been completed in photography, poetry, printmaking, beading, glass blowing, music appreciation, and bronze sculpture. Patient artwork is on display in reception areas of the Cancer Center, installed along various hallways, in patient exam rooms, and windows of the chemo-infusion room. Together, artists of the Dry Creek Arts Fellowship and many workshop participants have visually (and emotionally) changed the medical environment of this facility, for the better.