The Wexner Center docents are a diverse bunch with a range of backgrounds and interests. One broad thread that pulls them together is their love of the arts. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share a series of posts featuring members of our community and university student docent programs. Check back often and get familiar with some of the faces that you might see in our galleries.
Danielle Miller is a student docent who has been with the Wexner Center since 2008. She’s currently studying medicine at Ohio State. Danielle recently spearheaded a project that combined her interests in the arts and medicine. Working with Dr Merjin Van der Heijden (Dean of the Arts and Sciences Honors Program) and Drs. Robert DePhilip (Professor of Anatomy) and Peter Embi (Biomedical Sciences Vice President), Danielle created a unique experience for students of both fields. Here’s her description of the project: Anatomy According to the Artist; Anatomy According to the Physician.
The human body is a remarkable entity, eliciting study from multiple disciplines throughout the centuries. One of the rights of passage for both medical students and art students is to master the basic science or aesthetics of the body through an understanding of human anatomy. On March 9, 2012, twelve medical students and twelve art students came together for a session titled “Anatomy According to the Artist; Anatomy According to the Physician” in which students from both fields got the chance to learn anatomy from the other discipline’s perspective. The medical students first held a “mini anatomy session” where art students learned some basic muscles of the body and then explored the body through a cadaver lab session taught by anatomy students, teaching assistants, and faculty. In return, the art students and faculty then held a live model drawing session and taught medical students the basics of drawing the human body.
Overall, the session generated some great discussion about how learning anatomy is both similar and different in art and medicine—and about the difference between how an artist sees a body and how a physician sees a body. One of the most beautiful comments about the connection between art and medicine came from an art student who said, “the bones of the body are like lines to the artist, the tissues are like texture, and the muscles represent movement.” Donations for attending the session went directly to funding the Anatomy Memorial Service, a nondenominational memorial service held each year by health professionals to thank the families of those who have altruistically donated their bodies to the medical center for educational study. Their donations have changed the lives of many medical students, and now art students, by providing educational experiences that go far beyond those of a traditional classroom.