Nurturing Wellness Through the Arts

A multicolored pair of hands holding a multicolored heart

Illustration by Karen Qi

From handmade pottery to classical Indian dance, the creative talents of the Johns Hopkins University medical school community were on display in February at the inaugural Hopkins Evening of the Arts (HEARTS), which drew more than 100 medical students.

Centered on the theme “Building Community Through Expression,” the event featured a medical student and faculty art gallery with drawings, paintings, photography and pottery, along with live dance, music, and spoken word performances. Attendees also painted a collaborative mural.

“There is growing evidence to support that the arts — both creating and receiving — can positively contribute to well-being at the individual level and the community level,” says Katherine Chretien, director of medical student wellness and associate dean of medical student affairs. “We have been intentional about facilitating opportunities to engage in the arts alongside education at the school, and it is part of a larger effort to address medical student wellness.”

Second-year medical student Jay Maturi says, “I hadn’t sung in a couple years, but because the HEARTS event was happening, I found three people in my class to sing in a quartet with me. I had such a wonderful time practicing and performing, as well as watching my classmates showcase their piano, pottery and even spoken word talents.”