Featured Artist: Sharon Allred and the Art of Healing
Sharon Allred is a familiar face among the Tulsa art scene. What Tulsan’s may not know already about Allread? She gives the community much more than beautiful art — she gives comfort through an Artist-in-Residence program, Art of Healing, at Tulsa hospitals
Allred grew up on a dairy farm keenly aware of her natural country settings, sensitive to color, shapes, smells. Her first creative outlet was sewing while she was child, hand-making the majority of her wardrobe. At college, Allred naturally majored in fashion design. Her twenties brought marriage and a family when she began another creative outlet— tole painting— until the decision to return to school for nursing put an end to painting lessons. Allred held a successful nursing career as a cardiology nurse and 15 years as a pediatric oncology pharmaceutical consultant. Upon retirement, Allred assumed art lessons and creating again. Then, a not-to-be-missed opportunity bestowed upon the artist — she was one of ten, (out of 300), who was the recipient of a training scholarship to become an Artist-In-Residence at the Creative Center in New York City. The final mission of the residency was to take the program back to home communities. Below, Allred shares about the Art of Healing Programs:
“I began working with other expressive art therapists when I retired. By becoming an Artist-In-Residence and working with patients’ at their bedside, I combined my two life passions: nursing and art. It’s a privilege to work at Hillcrest and Oklahoma Heart Institute with the Art of Healing Program. I take an art cart to the surgery waiting room and work with the families where they make get well cards, create small works of art and paint. Art–making eases the stress of waiting for the doctor’s report. Creating art together has been a blessing for the families, the patients and for me.
I also work at the Oklahoma Heart Institute making hand-made artworks with cardiac patients. A pilot program has also begun at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. At present, several times a month we set up tables in the clinic so patients, parents & siblings can create work while receiving their treatments. It is a wonderful distraction if feeling nausea or pain, a great way to pass the time while chemo is infusing, and always an excellent format for self-expression of feelings that may not otherwise be expressed or addressed. It is a blessing to the families and our hope is that it will be a program that can be expanded to all children within the hospital.
Sharon was wonderful! The art took my mind off of the stress and I was able to make something for my family member in surgery – Art of Healing participant
Art and Healing Programs are in most major hospitals in the United States. In Oklahoma the Art and Healing Programs are at Hillcrest Hospital in Tulsa and Veterans Hospital in Oklahoma City. Throughout the United States there are Art and Healing programs in hospitals and clinic settings, especially in health care facilities associated with universities. My hope is that a training program can be established to train Artists-In-Residence to provide services to our Oklahoma communities. Training of this type takes funding from a medical facility or a grant. The Art and Healing Program is a very inexpensive program, and for medical centers, it’s one of the best ROI s (return on investment) to be found. ”
Allred’s art can be currently seen in the ARTifacts Gallery in Eureka Springs, AR or in her studio by appointment. See her website and more artwork at www.allredart.com