An Artists’ Advocate on a Mission to “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art”

By Renée Phillips


Renée Phillips

Renée Phillips

Manhattan Arts International is a creative community of art professionals that provides mutual support, encourages camaraderie, and rewards artistic excellence.

One of my greatest pleasures as its director is to present an annual “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” juried exhibition on our website. Although I have organized over 50 exhibitions in galleries and alternative spaces, I prefer the immediacy and accessibility of curating exhibitions on the Internet.

As an artists’ advocate, mentor and writer for 30 years I have had the honor of meeting extraordinary artists. Artists have the amazing ability to transport and transform us through space, form, movement, color and texture. Their art has the potential to lift us up, make us laugh, and provide tranquility and solace. At its best it enlightens, inspires and empowers us, and presents a new perspective of ourselves and the world we inhabit. The therapeutic life-affirming impact of art is undeniable.


Womb of Life by Carol Alleman

Carol Alleman, Womb of Life, cast bronze, 7.5″ x 5.75″. One of the Award of Excellence winners in Manhattan Arts International “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” 2013.


Art as a healing energy is no longer an experience reserved for practicing artists. There is increasing scientific evidence to support the fact that viewing and creating art can affect a person’s physiology, impact brain wave patterns and the nervous system, raise serotonin levels, and so much more. Medical facilities throughout the world are incorporating more art not only on their walls but also in their treatment practices.

In the 90’s I started writing about the healing benefits of art and devoted a section the “Healing Power of Art” in my book Success NOW! For Artists: A Motivational Guide for The Artrepreneur. When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1997 and she could no longer speak coherently we used drawing and music as a means of communication. Since then I have researched and written several articles on the subject for Professional Artist magazine and also The Healing Power of Art blog.


Cache de Poudre by Ruth Soller

Ruth Soller, Cache de Poudre, oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″. One of the Award of Excellence winners in Manhattan Arts International “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” 2013.


Suffice it to say, it is a passion and a mission. What motivated me to organize the first “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” exhibition more than a decade ago was my reaction to a prevalence of angst-ridden art that was dominating the New York art scene. After the 9/11 tragedy at the World Trade Center I became more compelled to promote art that radiated positive energy.

Earlier this month Manhattan Arts International began its call for entries for “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” 2014. As always we are accepting all mediums, styles, and sizes of art from artists from around the world through May 4, 2014.

This year I look forward to serving as a juror with Lilly Wei, a prominent New York art critic for Art in America, ARTnews, and other magazines. Wei is also an independent curator and serves on the board of several art organizations.  She and I will select 50 artists for the online exhibition that runs May 17-July 17, 2014. This year several artists will also receive cash, service, publicity, and material awards.


Infinite Health by P.C. Turczyn

P.C. Turczyn, Infinite Health, gouache on watercolor paper, 24″ x 24. One of the Award of Excellence winners in Manhattan Arts International “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” 2013.


As with any important project our success is built on a foundation of collaboration. We help artists build their relationships, resumes and recognition by inviting leading art professionals to serve as jurors, offer consultations, and write about them.

For example, Carolyn Edlund has generously offered to choose a winning artist for a Featured Artist article on her very popular Artsy Shark website. Barbara Markoff, a corporate art consultant with many clients in the healthcare industry, will share her expertise in a private consultation with an artist of her choice. And, P.C. Turczyn, an artist and writer, will interview an artist “whose work makes a significant contribution to the field” for her Art That Supports the Healing Process blog.

The “Celebrate The Healing Power of Art” exhibition is an extremely rewarding experience. Since New York City plays a dominant role in the art world, artists have told us when they participate in Manhattan Arts International exhibitions their professional credibility is enhanced. Many writers, gallerists, and art buyers discover artists through our exhibitions. Participating artists gain insight into their special gifts as creative individuals and natural healers. And, everyone involved feels they are making a positive difference.

For more information please visit Manhattan Arts.


Art credits: Carol Alleman, Ruth SollerP.C. Turczyn


  1. Thank-you for this wonderful article! If the widespread impulse among artists to create artwork with a healing effect is to coalesce into a real movement, it will be thanks to the efforts of many people like those you write about. Renee Phillips, especially, has been instrumental in creating a cohesive community of artists, curators, critics, art consultants and those in the media. We owe her a debt of gratitude.

  2. Thank you Renee Phillips for writing this excellent article about the healing character of positive, uplifting artwork. Thank you to Carolyn Edlund for publishing this on her ArtsyShark blog. I am blessed to be able to follow my dream by creating art that expresses my passion about the beauty of nature. My artwork has a healing power in my own life. I am honored to share my creative works in venues including Exempla Good Samaritan Comprehensive Cancer Center where my Cache de Poudre painting was chosen as the entry focal point because it is welcoming to patients and visitors.

  3. Thank you Renee and Carolyn for this exceptional promotion. Your articulate and stirring words regarding the power of an artist to touch others is beautiful. I am honored to be recognized by you – and honored to be able to work with a deep passion. Thank you!

  4. I have been following and entering this competition for four years now. Each year I feel that you (Renee) have shared about as much enthusiasm as one can provide about this wonderful competition, however each year I am proved wrong. Your belief and deep commitment to the healing power of art is infectious and deeply personal – thank you for sharing. I am always challenged in terms of my selections to enter but just as important, I seem to a renew my examination of my work as a whole, in terms of its commitment to helping me and others to understand the human condition. Bravo Renee . . .

  5. Yesterday I met with three art decision makers for a psychiatric hospital being remodeled in San Diego. Fortunately, they understood the importance of artwork to enhance the emotional well being of patients. When I returned to the office your outstanding article was there articulating the healing powers of art. It made me smile to know in this big country of ours the message is reaching the masses. Art humanizes spaces. In medical environments I often sell photographic scenes captured by humans and viewed by humans to unclutter their thoughts and calm their emotional state. Renee, thank you for your dedication and hard work to bring awareness to this subject. I am honored to have participated as a judge for your exhibition in 2013, and I look forward to awarding one outstanding artist with an art consultation sharing my expertise.

  6. I love your article. I have taught art to children for 30 years who are now adults. I am amazed how many commented how much I helped them to develop and be stronger adults. Many have chosen an art related career. For myself I love to paint water. I find it inspirational and beautiful which I try to express in my seascape paintings. There is nothing more peaceful than experiencing a sunset, sunrise or moonlight by the ocean or by a lake on a balmy summer, spring or fall day. Listening to a creek and meditating is sometimes a lifesaver.

  7. Carolyn, thank you very much for featuring this article on your website. As always you have done a spectacular job with the layout and promotion. As a result we have received many inquiries about the upcoming juried exhibition. I also appreciate your enthusiastic support and participation in our Celebrate The Healing Power of Art project.

    Thank you P.C., Ruth, Carol, Arthur and Barbara for your positive comments. Please continue to share this article and website with your friends and followers.

    Wishing you all creative bliss!

    • Thank you so much Renee for such an inspiring article. Your ‘passion and mission’ is a great contagious force in its own right that has so obviously spread widely as a medicinal antidote to suffering on many levels. It is indeed an honor and a privilege to be connected with you and I hope to find something worthy enough to contribute to your exhibition soon.

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