Biochemistry student Anushila Chatterjee displays an example of quilling she created by rolling and shaping strips of colored paper.
Ginny O’Brien, curator of education for UB Art Galleries (left), and first-year medical student Nabiha Ahsan stand by their artwork.
David L. Kaye, MD, and daughter, Madeline Kaye, MD ’15, teamed up for a musical performance during the Jacobs Arts Festival.
Ram Samudrala, PhD, offered listening samples of his “twisted music inspired by genomes and proteomes.”
The first Jacobs Arts Festival filled the Biomedical Education Building atrium with original paintings, drawings, sculptures, crafts, poetry and music.
Published May 10, 2016
The inaugural Jacobs Arts Festival showcased works by Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences students and faculty alike in celebration of where art and medicine meet.
The event was sponsored by the Jacobs Center for Medical Humanities and the Jacobs Arts and Visual Interest Society (JArVIS), a student interest group component of the Center that promotes art-focused activities.
More than two dozen pieces of artwork, encompassing paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, knitting samples, crafts, poetry and music, were displayed May 4 in the Biomedical Education Building atrium.
Linda F. Pessar, MD, director of the Center for Medical Humanities and professor emerita of psychiatry, notes that from its beginning, the Center has incorporated art and medicine as a major component of its educational offerings.
“We are fortunate to have so many engaged and enthusiastic students,” she says, noting the works serve to show the importance of maintaining a balance.
“All of this art serves to remind ourselves that we have other lives — and to take joy from that,” Pessar says. “After all, how can you treat others if you are so narrow and only focused on chemical formulas? Medicine needs to embrace life.”
Ginny O’Brien, curator of education for UB Art Galleries, is also a registered nurse who has been working with the medical school on arts in health programs.
Through the Center for Medical Humanities, she and Pessar organized live model drawing sessions for first-year students.
“Visual arts are important for first-year medical students,” O’Brien says. “It is art for observation, because observing is important to the medical practice.”
Art has other, far-reaching benefits for medical students, who carry heavy workloads throughout their academic training.
“Tapping into their artistic side enhances their critical thinking skills,” she says. “It promotes wellness and maintains a balance. It enriches them. It also shows their humanity to each other.”
O’Brien acts as faculty adviser to JArVIS and said first-year medical students Nabiha Ahsan and Julie Lee, who co-founded the group, organized the festival under her supervision.
“They handled all the logistics. It is what is called a ‘pop-up exhibition,’ where you put it up for a few hours and then take it down,” she says. “They are a very trendy thing in the art world right now.”
O’Brien says she was very pleased with both the turnout and the number of contributors, noting it was a “good first start” of an event that organizers hope will become an annual occurrence.
Among some of the artwork displayed: