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Sawtooth Launches Collaborative Wellness Program

Sawtooth is collaborating with Winston-Salem’s two largest healthcare providers to create a deeper community dialogue about healing and the impact of visual, written and spoken arts on the healing process.  Sawtooth School for Visual Art, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have come together in this new endeavor designed specifically to help cancer patients and their families, friends and caregivers as they journey through cancer and cancer treatment.

A collection of photographs and story boards created by Sawtooth School students and staff is currently on display at Novant Health Derrick L. Davis Cancer Center through November 5.  While the display is not open to the general public, cancer patients and members of their support system will be invited to enjoy the artwork and stories on display, and to participate in one or more hands-on art experiences.  There will be several opportunities including photography, journaling and video story-telling.  No particular art skills or previous experience is required for the patients and their families to take part in these activities.  The program is scheduled to migrate from Novant Health’s campus to the Comprehensive Cancer Center on  November 8 and will be on display through December 19.

“As a former cancer patient myself, I know first-hand what it’s like to deal with the ups and downs of treatment and the stress and the uncertainties that go along with the experience,” said JoAnne Vernon, Executive Director of the Sawtooth School.  “As I was undergoing treatment last year, it struck just how beneficial an art program would be for people like me and anyone else impacted by cancer or other serious illnesses.  The arts – visual arts, music, writing – help patients manage the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment.”

The Sawtooth School had a successful model on which to build.  The School’s photography coordinator, Amanda Sullivan, MaED, developed and launched a program called “Healing Grief and Loss through Photography” in February of last year.  The intention was to provide a classroom setting and an artistic outlet for students to express deeply personal and complex feelings through photography. The first class was such a success that the program has continued on and broadened into different art forms attracting students of all ages, skills, talents, and across the demographic spectrum.

See photographs & more information on the exhibit by visiting our Gallery page.

Sawtooth School for Visual Art has been the premier community visual art school in the Piedmont Triad for nearly 70 years, providing art education for all ages from beginner to advanced skill levels.  A funded member of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the Sawtooth School is located in the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts complex at 251 N. Spruce Street in downtown Winston-Salem.

Novant Health is a four-state integrated network of physician practices, outpatient centers and hospitals that deliver a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to our communities. The Novant Health network consists of more than 1,100 physicians and 24,000 employees who make healthcare remarkable at more than 450 locations, including 14 medical centers, three hospitals, and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, Novant Health is committed to making healthcare remarkable for our patients and our communities serving over four million patients annually. In 2012, Novant Health provided more than $545 million in community benefit including charity care and services. Novant Health is one of the top 25 integrated health systems in the United States and was named a top 50 Best Places for Diverse & Women Managers to Work by Diversity MBA Magazine.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a fully integrated academic medical center located in Winston-Salem, N.C.  The institution comprises Wake Forest School of Medicine, a leading center for medical education and research; Wake Forest Baptist Health, the integrated clinical structure that includes nationally ranked Brenner Children’s Hospital; Wake Forest Innovations, which promotes the commercialization of research discoveries and operates Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, an urban research and technology park; plus a network of affiliated community hospitals, physician practices, outpatient services and other medical facilities.  Wake Forest Baptist clinical programs and the School of Medicine are regularly ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

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