Arts & Health

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ― Pablo Picasso

Throughout the Duke Medical Center in Durham, NC, artwork hangs on walls and in showcases overseen by Duke Arts & Health. One recent display in the Duke Clinics merges visual art with performance art and caught my eye.

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A trumpet lamp, a 12-button student accordion, a clarinet lamp, a toy piano, and an Oscar Schmidt autoharp on display in the Duke Clinics in Durham, NC. (I’ve walked by this display case dozens and dozens of times over the years and have never noticed it was even there. It was the clarinet lamp that drew me toward this latest exhibit. I played the woodwind from fourth grade through my first year of college, and will occasionally toot a rusty rendition of Karl L. King’s “Robinson’s Grand Entry” or John Philip Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea” when the mood strikes.)

A few weeks later, I passed by the display again and noticed it had grown to include harmonicas, sheet music, and a German hunting horn. Intriguing!

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A Hohner “Super Chromonica” chromatic harmonica on display at Duke Medical Center (Durham, NC).

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A German Hunting Horn on display in the Duke Clinics showcase. (Durham, NC)

But that’s not all. A few weeks later still, I passed by and the display had changed again! This time it included several string instruments, not the least of which was a colorful ukulele.

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A couple of guitars, a violin/fiddle, and a ukulele are charming additions to a revolving display of musical instruments in the Duke Clinics (Durham, NC).

In addition to such visual arts displays, the Duke Arts & Health department hosts lunchtime concerts on the Trent Semans Plaza, as well as music throughout the medical units, in waiting areas, and at bedsides. (Much of this music is thanks to professional musicians in residence and volunteer Duke student musicians.)

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A musician plays the accordion in a busy thoroughfare near the cafeteria. — Duke University Hospital; Durham, NC

The exhibits and the concerts are free to the public. The enjoyment they bring is priceless.

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