Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn is letting artists of all stripes pay for their medical bills by trading “credits” they earn by donating their skills & time to patients in recovery. The program called “Artist Access” Â was born last year, when Dr. Edward Fishkin, Medical Director of Brooklynâ€™s Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, met Laura Colby a former dancer turnedÂ performingÂ arts agent.
The Artist Access program allows artists to provide interactive art programs for patients in exchange for health care credits. The Â credits are deposited in the artistâ€™s personal account, 40 credits for each hour of work which equates to about $40 an hour and can be used to cover sliding scale fees in Woodhullâ€™s HHC Options program. Proposals have to beÂ submittedÂ for review and accepted with priority given to those that match the needs of departments such as the Pediatric, Geriatric, or Rehabilitation Units. Â The hospital has focused initially on performance programs, but has tested teaching drawing in the Pediatric Unit in exchange for treatment. Mural projects for the many walls and stairwells in the hospital buildings are also being considered.
It isn’t a soulution for the masses and looks to be a bureaucraticÂ ousourcing of rehabilitation entertainment & inspiration program development but it’s a brave step in the right direction and a good fit for the Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Fort GreeneÂ ArtÂ scene. There is a realÂ opportunityÂ for a few groups to developÂ appropriateÂ rehabÂ coursesÂ that can be easily repeated on a weekly basis and make some considerable money towards their healthcare services.
I would not beÂ surprisedÂ that this is an independent contractor position with the hospital & am largely sure there will be tax liability for the artists butÂ definitelyÂ something to look into. If anyone has completed a project in this program we would love to hear about yourÂ experiences.