Reflections on Our Trip to the Barnes Foundation

Philadelphia youth from CEPI's Karabots Junior Fellows Program and Teva Pharmaceutivals Internship Program pose in front of the entrance to the Barnes Foundation

~ “Art therapy can be especially beneficial to children as younger people are usually less capable and less comfortable expressing themselves via words.” – I ❤️ Art Therapy.

Recently, several of CEPI’s interns from our various youth programs took a trip to the Barnes Foundation to explore the site’s unique art galleries and contemplate the relationship between health and art. Sheila and Honesty, two of our Karabots Junior Fellows who took the trip, are here to share their experiences:

(Sheila:) On our trip to the gallery, we saw a lot of cool art that we never even imagined could exist. Before, I never really took art seriously; I literally just thought of it as beautiful pictures used for decoration. Going to this trip changed my mind completely, I learned that art can be seen through so many different perspectives. For every image, there is a story behind it. Just like a sigh, a person can just sigh and you can ask yourself “Is everything OK with them?,” but behind every sigh there’s a story. A person can be tired, angry or maybe they can’t take it anymore. We all see it differently.

(Honesty:) Medicine is also a kind of art. It takes time to perfect an art and it takes time to perfect one’s medical skills. Research has also shown that art can be therapeutic.  Art can be used as a form of therapy for people who find it hard to express themselves or have other mental disorders such as anxiety, dyslexia, or depression. Overall, art can be very powerful and connects to many things in life. It is another way for everyone to tell their story, have a conversation, or express themselves in ways others wouldn’t be able to.

A New Session of the Mütter’s Drawing Course


CEPI is gearing up to start a new session of Drawing Anatomical Anomalies, the course where students gain special access to study and draw specimens from the Mutter Museum storage vaults! Last session the class was full at 16 students and we drew everything from bones showing mal unions to desiccated feet with comminuted fractures, hearts with tricuspid valvulitis, and a beautifully sculpted wax model of intestines afflicted with tuberculosis.

The course is organized by specimen type: bone, desiccated, wet, and wax medical models, known as moulage. There are a few sessions where we take time to do more specialized study, such as the Comparative Skull Drawing Class, and the museum is opened up several nights for open drawing in the museum, where students can pick any subject on view to create a drawing from. We had a variety of students; recent art school graduates, a tattoo artist, a veterinary student, a world history professor, a special effects make-up artist, a medical student, and a graphic designer who flew in from Texas to take the course! The students were focused and approached their subjects with incredible seriousness – though we do try to keep a sense of humor around all these old bones! They produced fantastic drawings, which you can view in the Museum’s online exhibition here:

Don’t forget to sign up for the next session of Drawing Anatomical Anomalies, beginning October 2015!