Art is a means of self-expression and communication. Learning about and creating art can increase our empathy and perception. In a hospital setting, art offers the following:
- An opportunity for patients and their loved ones to focus on something other than the illness and physical state of the patient
- Relief from boredom, stress, fear, and pain associated with diagnosis and treatment
- A means for patients and their loved ones to take charge, be in control, and make independent choices based on their artistic creations
Through the program, a professional artist ("artist in residence") is selected who comes to the hospital a specific day each week and works with patients and their loved ones to learn about, discuss, and create art. Artists in residence develop supportive relationships with patients and offer them something to look forward to during inpatient stays.
Huntsman Cancer Institute's artist in residence is Jorge Rojas.
Huntsman Cancer Institute also documented the first year of the program and interview a few of the participants and can be viewed here.
The Hospital Artist in Residence Program is generously supported by a grant from the Livestrong Foundation.
Jorge Rojas is an artist, curator, and art educator. He studied art at the University of Utah and at Bellas Artes-El Nigromante in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Rojas uses both traditional and new media, as well as performance, to explore the creation and processes involved in artistic production.
He has taught mural painting and other art-related workshops throughout the New York City public school system and has lead several art-related workshops in Salt Lake City. His work and curatorial projects have been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums, including Queens Museum of Art, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; New World Museum, Houston; Ex Convento del Carmen, Guadalajara; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City; and Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City.
Rojas has received grants and fellowships that include the National Performance Network's VAN Residency, Experimental Television Center, West Chicago City Museum Artist in Residency Program, Vermont Studio Center, and Project Row Houses. Rojas is the founding director of Low Lives, an international, multi-venue online performance festival founded in 2009.
Rojas was born in Morelos, Mexico. He works and lives in Salt Lake City, along with his wife Jenna and son Felix.