An ARTFul Interpretation of Orthopedics
The Gallery of ARTFul Medicine, Montefiore Medicine Hutchinson Metro Campus
Marianne R. Petit, artist
in collaboration with the Department of Orthopedics
Sponsored by the Fine Art Program and Collection at Montefiore Einstein
The Gallery of ARTFUl Medicine at Montefiore’s Hutchinson campus presents contemporary art within the unique context of a medical center. In its vision, exhibiting artists are “encouraged to interpret scientific and medical research and create works of art depicting issues of cultural, political, and technological significance.” As I toured the space last year with Jodi Moise, Director of the Fine Art Program and Collection at Montefiore Einstein, I noticed a sign for the Department of Orthopedics and Spine Center. I casually turned to Jodi and said, “Oh, that’s so interesting! I wore a backtrace for seven years when I was a kid” and she responded, “Do you want to work with them?” Surprised and excited, I said “yes!” not knowing what might happen.
What emerged was an extraordinary and close collaboration between myself, Marcie Cobelli, FNP and Director of Patient Education at the Montefiore Center for Joint Replacement Surgery, and Jodi Moise, Director of the Fine Art Program & Collection at Montefiore Einstein. The resulting exhibition, “An ARTFul Interpretation of Orthopedics,” highlights and explores the work of orthopedics, as told through the art of paper craft. The goal was to create an
informative but gentle self-guided visual journey through healing.
The body is represented through paper cuts. Here, visitors find the spine, shoulder, elbow, hand, hip, knee, ankle, and foot, as well as the bones of the arms and legs. Various interventions potentially encountered in one’s journey are represented through full-color pop-ups. These include implants, arthroscopic surgery, trauma procedures, orthopedic oncology, pediatric orthopedics, injections, radiofrequency ablation, physical therapy, and acupuncture. Additionally, physicians and caregivers donated personal items for inclusion in the exhibition. Among these objects are implants, braces, 3D prints and other teaching models, external fixators, rehabilitation equipment, and more. Finally, QR codes are located alongside the body and all treatments, taking visitors directly to educational and hospital resources.
The exhibition came together through countless conversations with caregivers. They generously shared their expertise and experiences to help shape and form the content of the exhibition. In the end, we decided to also include everyone in the exhibit through video messages captured via Zoom. All of this, again, was navigated through my partnership with Marcie and Jodi. As an artist, I’ve always enjoyed the process of collaboration and the surprising outcomes that might not otherwise occur. This particular collaboration took me down an extraordinarily educational and creatively expansive path I never could have envisioned. I am both grateful for it and changed by it. It is satisfying to have had the opportunity to create a large aesthetic and narrative experience, in a heavily trafficked area, that might be helpful to someone in their health journey. As Jodi Moise states “Art is a powerful tool that can help patients and families through challenging circumstances. The Art Program’s mission, in support of this, is to transform cold and clinical spaces into uplifting and soothing environments. We believe at Montefiore Medicine that art humanizes the patient experience.” I encourage artists to envision a role in that mission and hope that our collaborative process may serve as a model for others.