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VUMC Community Art Initiative call for medical student art

Newswise — The Association of American Medical Colleges and Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine Art of Diagnosis Program, sponsored by the Gordan and Betty Moore Foundation, awarded Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Community Art Initiative (CAI) $5,000 to support an exhibition of medical student art.

Medical students across the country are invited to donate original art in support of improving holistic patient care. The unique program allows patients the privilege of personalizing their hospital stay while also offering future physicians the opportunity to care for patients they might not otherwise reach through a humanistic effort. Each piece will be incorporated as a permanent work within the CAI Collection. A curated selection will also be featured in a special “Art of Resilience: A Nashville Perspective” showcase on Sept. 23 with potential for monetary prizes.

Beyond the student call, CAI also seeks donations that encapsulate individual experiences, cultural heritage, or personal philosophies to comfort and inspire patients in a healing space. These donations may come from any artist, with the intention that artists’ work will contribute to a collective narrative of empowerment and unity and bring a sense of community and the outside world to individual hospital rooms.

Special emphasis will be given to art and artists tied to the Nashville area and Middle Tennessee. As with the medical student submissions, art will be added to the permanent collection with a curated selection also featured in the showcase. Prizes will be awarded by jury to the top three pieces through donated funds.

The CAI builds on a program implemented by medical students Wyatt Cole, Mike Libre and Sophie Schellhammer to bring the Metro Arts Lending Library to Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital patients.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of the Community Art Initiative is the opportunity to connect with patients,” Cole said. “Illness tends to encourage introspection, and patients often share the stories that matter most to them. However, participants expect something in return. They are polite and ask a few questions about my background, but they really want to know who the community artists are and the stories behind their work. We look forward to expanding our stories and shared experiences.”

For more information on exhibits, eligibility and prizes, please visit or contact [email protected].

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