Spring 2021

Artistic antidote for a pandemic

A thrice-weekly dose of art invites a sense of connection, empathy, and healing during an uncertain time

When COVID-19 hit last spring and nonessential clinic visits came to a screeching halt, M Physicians family doctor Jon Hallberg, M.D., and pediatric physicians Maren Olson, M.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., and Ben Trappey, M.D., turned their energy to something else.

They created the Artistic Antidote for a Pandemic, a blog that hosts a curated collection of art of all types—from painting and collage to dance and song to poetry, essay, and film.

“Pretty early on, we realized that, man, we’ve got to do something to buoy our spirits,” says Hallberg, an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and director of the new Center for the Art of Medicine in the University of Minnesota Medical School. “This was a way for us to try to create something beautiful during a scary, uncertain time—an offering of solace.”

The blog now has hundreds of subscribers, who receive a thrice-weekly dose of connection, validation, and hope. 

“It’s a little surprise,” Hallberg says, “a small gift of art.” 

Here’s a selection of art from the full collection.

View the full Artistic Antidote collection and subscribe, or make a gift to the Center for the Art of Medicine.