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The Arts-in-Medicine program at UNM aims to soothe those in pain, ease stress levels and bring healing through music and art to different corners of UNM’s North Campus.

Whether you’re a patient or family member, or a student or staff member, the healing sounds will brighten your day.

History of Arts-in-Medicine

The Arts-in-Medicine program began in October 1999 with an exhibition featuring the art and poetry of 12 Albuquerque artists, and a performance called “Divining the Tapestry: Stories of Living and Dying Well.” The project was based on the recorded life stories of patients of what was then called Sandia Hospice. In 2002, the exhibition that had expanded to encompass an international conference, grew to include patients, families and medical professionals at UNM Health Sciences Center.


To enhance the healing process by facilitating creative encounters in local, regional and international medical environments and communities, while educating health care professionals and others on the integral role the arts play in wellness and health restoration.

Arts-in-Medicine is comprised of five branches:

  • Clinical services – provide creative encounters for patients and families, as well as staff and providers at University of New Mexico Hospitals.
  • Education – courses are held for Main Campus, North Campus, and community groups.
  • Research – takes place for various projects to evaluate the program as a whole, as well as specific interventions for specific populations.
  • Outreach – engages local and regional communities to promote and develop arts and health care programs in other facilities and organizations.
  • International collaboration – works with various organizations and universities to promote and develop arts and health care programs in other countries, with several projects currently underway in South Africa.

Express yourself

We aim to help patients encourage self-examination, self-transformation and spiritual expression. In addition, our goals are to ease pain, discomfort and anxiety, and to encourage you and your family, as well as staff, to:

  • Create new perspectives and provide opportunities to express painful and/or meaning in life.
  • Facilitate positive experiences and heightened self-esteem.
  • Stimulate spiritual expression.
  • Relieve pain, discomfort, anxiety, restlessness, respiratory difficulties, insomnia, depression, loss of speech, grief and anticipatory grief.

Creating to help you feel better

Arts-in-Medicine helps patients and their families create a healing process through various mediums of art:

  • Music, visual art, dance, poetry, creative writing
  • Life review, self-reflection, guided imagery, deep breathing, relaxation techniques, meditation and mindfulness
  • Massage, energy work, yoga, tai chi, qi gong and essential oils

Creative Encounters for Patients and Their Families

  • Nite Lite, a late-night music, art and life review at bedside for UNMH adult units, and live harp music for adult intensive care units.
  • Live music and open art studio in the UNMH adult and pediatric triage areas, the in-patient units at the Psychiatric Center and the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • Special workshops and presentations for patient support groups.

In addition, we provide creative encounters for the community, which entail multicultural dance and music concerts, as well as Arts-in-Medicine courses. 

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