The Art of Seeing | NYU Langone Health

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Office of Medical Education Elective Catalog The Art of Seeing

The Art of Seeing

Preceptor: Anna Willieme, MFA

Prerequisites: None


Students will engage with, describe and interpret art during The Art of Seeing elective in order to strengthen their visual diagnostic and communication skills. In the context of this elective, participating students will focus on the subjective and interpretive stance inherent in the process of seeing while further developing techniques of visual analysis based on observation.

The Art of Seeing class will take place online over a two-week period. During the class, students will have the opportunity to discover and examine masterpieces from the world’s great museums which will include a wide range of styles including figurative and abstract works as well as painting, drawing, photography and sculpture.

The course is led by Anne Willieme, Founder and Director of ArtMed inSight which explores connections between art and medicine and specializes in the development and design of educational programs using art to enhance the perceptual, self-awareness and communication skills of medical students, physicians and healthcare professionals.

ArtMed inSight is a pioneer in the art and medicine field and has been designing and leading innovative programs since 2005 for leading medical institutions and world-class museums such as Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and NYU Langone Medical Center, Columbia University Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, Mount Sinai St Luke’s in NYC among others. Willieme is also a frequent speaker on art as well as art and medicine and lectures across the US and abroad.

Objectives of the Elective

Students will develop and strengthen crucial observational and self-awareness skills. Using art’s formal elements as tools to deepen observation, this class will help participants move beyond blind spots present in visual perception in order to access a deeper seeing.

Working with associations and interpretations elicited from selected works, participants will learn to further a nuanced emotional awareness while examining its impact on observation, engagement and communication skills. Finally, issues of point of view along with bias and ambiguity will be considered and their relevance to diagnosis and patient communication explored.

Key Responsibilities of the Student while on Elective

  • Active participation in course sessions
  • Completion of weekly exercises
  • Presentation of a final project at the end of the course

Didactic Program

This class is highly interactive as it combines participant-centered discussions around art with hands-on art, writing, and observational exercises utilized to heighten perceptual skills.

Method of Evaluation

Evaluation will be based on students’ participation during the course and final project presented at the end of the elective.

Scheduling Information

The course will take place Monday through Friday for two weeks. Classes will meet daily for 2 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon (with the last class meeting only in the morning). In addition, daily at home follow-up exercises of circa 1 hour will be included.

Months Offered: 2 weeks in March, May, July, and September
Report To: Anna Willieme,
Students Per Period: 6
Duration: Two weeks