Art project launched as part of public health outreach

Daisy Garcia Montoya
Editorial Assistant

A Kansas City research team is launching an art project in the Northeast to bring health research back into the community.

Led by Kim Smolderen of Yale University, the Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute-affiliated team is working with Mattie Rhodes Center (MRC) to create an art installation to raise awareness about peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Researchers followed patients from the Kansas City area and across the United States for one year to study patients’ quality of life and care after being diagnosed with PAD.

The team received funding in 2019 through the Eugene Washington Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Engagement Awards Program for a PAD outreach program to spread awareness to communities of cardiovascular disease, its risk factors and ways to prevent it.

One of those outreach programs will be through an interactive art project, which will be located in the Paseo Gateway neighborhoods in Northeast.
The search for artists to complete the project began in March 2020 with an open call for Kansas City area artists. Four artists were selected: Carmen Moreno, Jason Wilcox, Rodrigo Alvarez and Isaac Tapia.

Tapia said that this art project will be beneficial to community members because they will be able to learn more about the disease and comprehend it.

“With the art we’re incorporating into this, it helps us understand that visually,” Tapia said. “I know for my family, my mom didn’t finish school. She reads, writes and understands but she communicates visually more than anything and so it’s important to have something out there that translates what this is all about.”

Although still in the planning stage, the team of artists are going around the community to talk to members who have been diagnosed with PAD and interviewing them to gather information to include them in the art project.
“Coronavirus really pushed us back,” Tapia said. “We would have already started but the virus happened.”

Artist Isaac Tapia

The art project is expected to be done by late Fall 2020. Several events will take place where community members will be invited to contribute to the art project.

“If we have an event, join us while wearing a mask and being six feet part so people can learn about PAD and go get checked and make sure they don’t have it,” Tapia said.

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