In addition to being an artist and writer, Barbara Lewis Marco has worked professionally at the intersection of art and medicine for many years. From 2004 to Sept 2015 Barbara was Coordinator of “The Arts in Medicine Studio” (fka “Wilma’s Studio), an art program that pays artists and brings them to do creative work with children and their families at the pediatric oncology and pediatric neurology clinics at New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University Medical Center. The program was extended to inpatient pediatric oncology, and also includes a liaison with the Metropolitan Museum of Art for special private tours for patients and families.
“The Arts in Medicine Studio” is part of the Arts in Medicine Project of Dr. Rita Charon’s Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. http://www.narrativemedicine.org/clinical-mission/arts-in-medicine-studio-bringing-artists-into-healthcare/ The program was the vision of physician and artist Dr. Wilma Bulkin Siegel, who believes that artists provide a unique healing tool that deserves to be valued.
Barbara is the author of “The Little Book Of Courage, An Illustrated Guide To Challenging Our Fears” published by Andrews McMeel, and “Stumbling Toward Enlightenment, An Illustrated Crisis Companion” published by Penguin. Her latest book is “The Crazy Angels Guide To Sanity In An Insane World” by Two Coasts Press.
Her illustrated books are inspirational guides to going through emotional and/or physical difficulties in life with authenticity, compassion, and a sense of humor. They grew out of her own struggles with the sometimes painful realities of life, and a dedication to the idea that art can be a powerful healing tool for all.
Before creating her books, Barbara’s mixed media photographic works were shown in galleries in NYC. Her work in the healthcare field began with her own healing from many years of chronic pain and physical disability.
Through the wonderful organization “The Creative Center,” (http://www.thecreativecenter.org) she became a paid bedside Artist-in-Residence in adult palliative care at NYU Hospital for four years, followed by four years at Jacob Perlow Hospice at Beth Israel Hospital. She has done workshops for bereavement groups and hospice staff at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, and seminars for medical students at Columbia.
Barbara is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts in film and spent the beginning of her career as a development executive for a major hollywood film producer. She has gone from a world dominated by image, power, and money to a richer, deeper, more fulfilling focus on human beings connecting with themselves and each other through art, sometimes in the midst of tremendous suffering.
Barbara moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and connected with HARK (Healing Arts Reaching Kids) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She now does creative art with in-patient children and their families. She is also giving time to support HARK and it’s mission. Healingartsreachingkids.org
Barbara has been profoundly grateful to have been doing this work, but occasionally rages at the gods or whomever or whatever, for what humans (including herself) sometimes must experience. She believes that creativity, compassion, and a sense of humor help keep us sane in a world that at times seems to make no sense at all.