Health briefs: Arts for Health Sarasota-Manatee partners with Arts for Health Tampa Bay

May 14, 2013 

Health groups form partnership

SARASOTA -- Arts for Health Sarasota-Manatee, an organization that promotes bringing artists, musicians and dancers into health care settings such as hospitals and nursing homes, is now partnering with the Arts for Health Tampa Bay.

The organization is hosting a kickoff reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 14 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, 1700 S. Tamiami Trail, to celebrate the new alliance.

The reception also will be a networking event for artists, health care professionals and people in the community to meet and mingle.

"We want to acknowledge some of the work here in Sarasota and to really educate our community," said Elizabeth Bornstein, a social worker at Sarasota Memorial and co-chair of Arts for Health Sarasota-Manatee.

An example of art in a healthcare setting is at the Pines of Sarasota. Some residents in the Alzheimer's unit were frightened of taking showers at night. An artist was brought in who painted beach scenes in the bathroom and each resident's favorite music was piped in at shower time to enhance the calming atmosphere.

Keynote speaker at the reception will be Sheela Chokshi, the physician leader of the Integrative Medicine Program at Tampa General Hospital.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call 941-266-3629.

Traveling exhibit focuseson the 'Faces of HIV'

SARASOTA -- "Faces of HIV," a traveling art exhibit featuring Florida residents living with HIV and AIDS, will be in Sarasota at two events May 18. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the exhibit will be at the Gospel Explosion Block Part, Sarasota Housing Authority Gore Court Apartments, 1700 Gore Court; and from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Harvey Milk Festival at Five Points Park, 100 Central Ave.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Florida Department of Health and travels throughout the state. Since its inception, "Faces of HIV" has been shown in 10 cities from Tallahassee to Tampa.

Through their portraits and journal writing, the art exhibit tells the stories of people with HIV and AIDS. Video interviews are part of the project and can be seen online at

"The goal is to reduce stigma associated with the disease," said Ashley Carr, spokeswoman for the Department of Health.

"Social stigma is a significant barrier to people getting tested for HIV and seeking care."

Five churches will send their gospel choirs to the Gospel Explosion Block Party, an event being held to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS prevention, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gore Court Apartments.

Churches are an important part of reaching the community in the fight against HIV and AIDS, said JT Albritton, an HIV prevention specialist at the Community AIDS Network in Sarasota.

"We realized the we needed the churches' help. Churches are one of the most influential forces in delivering the message," said Albritton.

On stage at the Gospel Explosion Block Party will be choirs from Newtown and the surrounding area.

Free HIV testing will be available, including rapid HIV tests.

Play tackles topic of body image, self-esteem

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- "Thea's Secret," a short play about "two teenage girls who wage war with the bathroom mirror" will be performed starting at 7 p.m. May 14 at the Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop.

The play is for teens, parents, teachers and counselors and about the scourge of teenage years - body image, self-esteem and negative self-image.

"Thea's Secret" is being staged by the SOURCE, a youth performance troupe in Sarasota that is an outreach program of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

A question and answer session will follow the play at 7:45 p.m.

"It's an old play but a brand new production," said Jan Chester, vice president of external affairs of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida Chester.

"This is about body image and self esteem -- and how that affects what decisions you make and whom you interact with and what you do with yourself," she said.

Admission is free. Call 941-365-3913 for more information.

Susan Hemmingway, Herald health correspondent, can be reached at

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