The arts have long been recognized as a means of healing. Music, drawings and paintings, chants, and dances have been used in healing rituals in the past, and today studies show what people knew already: art heals. It relieves stress; it lessens pain; it lowers blood pressure; it brings us to a different place and different moment, and helps us cope.

Selections of visual art or music will be posted on this site with questions to help you view them in depth. Then, if you wish, respond to the reflective writing prompt so you and the work can share a space, a moment in time. The reflective writing may be any length, from five minutes to twenty minutes of writing. Sharing that writing with a friend might be helpful but is optional.


April 6, 2020

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection, Open Access. Artist: Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Netherlands, painted in 1565, oil on wood.


Bruegel’s paintings were a great deviation from the works that came before him because his work work was humanistic and had secular rather than religious subjects.


  1. Determine what is being depicted in this painting, and what people are involved.
  2. Think about how the artist painted the scene. (e.g. What is detailed and what is less detailed? What is prominent in the scene? What colors are used and why?)
  3. What is the story this painting is telling?
  4. What does the painting make you think about and feel?

REFLECTIVE WRITING PROMPT: Write about an experience gathering or working with others in the summertime.

April 4, 2020

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Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820, public domain

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) German composer

Beethoven String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6 was written between 1798 and 1800 and published in 1801. The fourth movement is the crux of the piece and possibly the highlight of Op. 18. Marked Questo pezzo si deve trattare colla più gran delicatezza (this piece is to be played with the greatest delicacy) it develops in three parts. (from Musopen, Royalty-free music)

Listen to this selection from Beethoven and enjoy its beauty.

If you want to, listen to it again, this time imaging it as a story with musical backing. Create what happens in this story in your mind. You can do this over and over, making up different stories each time. You can also write to the music, write what the music makes you think and feel.

April 3, 2020

Emily Wonder plays Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah.”.

Leonard Cohen’s song is lovely on any instrument, including the voice; however, it is spectacular on the harp. Emily Wonder plays multiple variations on the theme.


March 29, 2020

Wheat Field and Cypresses (1889)
From The Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection, Open Access. Artist: Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, painted in 1889,  oil on canvas.



  1. Name the elements you see in this landscape painting by Vincent Van Gogh.
  2. How did Van Gogh make this scene come alive?
  3. What was Van Gogh trying to convey about this scene?
  4. How does this painting make you feel?

REFLECTIVE WRITING PROMPT: Walk into this painting in your mind. From anyplace you choose to stand, write about what you see, hear, and feel.