Q&A With Linda Solon, Art Therapist
By Stamford Health Bennett Cancer Center Staff
Meet Linda Solon, Expression Through Art Coordinator at the Bennett Cancer Center. Linda comes from a diverse art background and her philosophy revolves around healing, making her a natural fit for Stamford Health. Along with Frances Becker, Linda runs the Expression Through Art program, open to those with cancer, and their loved ones. Here’s what art and healing mean to her, in her words.
1. Welcome to Stamford Hospital! What “drew” you here? (Pun intended.) What is an art therapist?
The Expression Through Art program essentially uses art to enhance healing. It’s a very rewarding experience that’s helpful to people. Art is all about trying new things and I feel as though Stamford Hospital and the Bennett Cancer Center support the arts. I came from an art background—I’ve been involved my whole life. I’ve curated, taught and run various workshops and shows. I go to galleries and keep up with the latest exhibits.
2. In a nutshell, what’s your day-to-day like here at Bennett Cancer Center? How often do classes meet? Who’s eligible? What happens during class?
Our artists range from their 20s, into their 90s, and we invite survivors, those battling cancer and their families join. Classes are guided by many factors—if someone feels like painting a mermaid, then I’m all for it. If not, then I will suggest a few project ideas. To me, programs like these are successful when you hear an attendee say, “I forgot I have cancer.”
So far, our schedule is:
- Tuesdays: 10am-12pm and 5pm-7pm; Open Attendance
- Wednesdays: 10am-12pm
In between classes, and during treatment, we offer Art on a Cart for whoever wishes to participate. Those adult coloring books can really help pass the time for some patients.
3. What are the major benefits of this role for both you and the patient?
For those with cancer, having a positive outlook can be hard. But art is a unique way of inspiring positivity, reducing stress and inspiring hope. In class together, we feel a mix of joy, camaraderie and connection. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
My goal is for this amazing team here at the Bennett Cancer Center to build an award-winning, recognized program with a positive impact on healing. I firmly believe that if you feel better, you have a better chance of healing.
4. Explain a little bit how specific media/art materials impact people in different ways.
You don’t have to know “how” to paint to be good at art. Painting is relaxing and universal—anyone can do it. Many of my class participants simply spread color and love it. The beauty of art is that it offers lots of tools like palate knives to allow for more creative expression when playing around with different textures.
5. Have you admired the artwork of the new hospital? What are your thoughts about the philosophy of the artwork in new building?
The new hospital is absolutely unbelievable and the artwork is museum quality. I’ve seen people stop in awe—all of the creations truly embody the healing philosophy.
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