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Clark Art Expands RX for Wellbeing Program
11:04AM / Thursday, September 28, 2023
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Clark Art Institute and Berkshire Medical Center are teaming to provide a new mental health service aimed at providing assistance to trauma victims.
The Clark currently offers a county-wide program, Rx for Wellbeing at the Clark, through local mental health practitioners as a means of encouraging engagement with art as part of a therapeutic treatment plan for those dealing with issues like depression, anxiety, and social isolation. The new initiative with Berkshire Medical Center, Access to Wellbeing at the Clark, extends the program to offer victims of trauma opportunities to engage with art as a part of their recovery efforts.
To date, the Rx for Wellbeing program has been beta tested with a select group of Berkshire County-based providers who have prescribed involvement with the Clark to their clients as part of their individualized treatment plan. Through the new Access program, the Institute extends its outreach to a greater portion of the community by partnering with medical practitioners to offer free admission to the Clark's galleries and its programs to the clients these trauma doctors support and serve.
"There have been a number of scientific studies that have linked engagement with art to improved health and wellbeing," said Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director of the Clark. "We firmly believe that looking at a painting or any other type of art can spark self-reflection, inspiration, and understanding that can help people in numerous ways. By deepening our commitment to this project, we hope we will be able to help better serve the needs of our community by providing a way to assist them in discovering and enjoying the restorative power of art."
The original Rx for Wellbeing program was developed by the Clark's Director of Education Ronna Tulgan Ostheimer, working in close collaboration with a cohort of mental health practitioners who advised her.
"At the Clark, we define art as 'the expression or reflection of human experience, imagination, and values,'" Tulgan Ostheimer said. "Engaging with art offers an opportunity to consider and explore what it means to be a human being. Further, making connections with art can encourage positive self-awareness, appreciation of others, and a sense of connectedness to a larger-than-self reality. A visit to the museum can be a break from the pressures of daily life, a new experience, and/or a constructive family bonding activity." 
Earlier this year, Tulgan Ostheimer was approached by Dr. Mark Kryskow, the Berkshire Medical Center's Trauma Medical Director, to consider how the Rx program could be expanded to assist trauma victims.
"Suffering a traumatic injury can result in not only physical issues, but also can be mentally and emotionally challenging," said Kryskow. "Our partnership with the Clark allows our Trauma Program team providers to refer interested patients to the Access program, which through the beautiful art at the Clark could be helpful in reducing the stress that often comes with trauma."
For information on how individuals can participate in the program, visit or contact the Clark's Education Department at 413 458 0563
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