3 Artists on the Healing Power of Art

healing power of art

Art Force recently completed a major installation at a local healthcare facility, highlighting the work of Alexander Tylevich, Michael Tonder, Adam Colangelo, as well as many others. The project featured a variety of artistic mediums, including numerous large-scale sculptures.

Here at Art Force, we are strongly believers in evidence-based design, the healing power of art, and the significant benefits to those who live and work in environments that showcase creativity (ICYMI, we made a pretty neat infographic about it). To explore this topic more fully, we sat down with Tylevich, Tonder, and Colangelo to hear their thoughts on the idea of art as medicine.

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Professional artist, Alexander Tylevich, created River of Light, which is suspended from the ceiling of the main lobby. Composed of more than 800 pounds of dichroic glass, the installation shimmers and meanders across the ceiling, complementing the flowing architecture and natural lighting of the facility.

Tylevich River of Light 1stAlexander Tylevich

University of Minnesota Science, Teaching, and Student Services Center Architects - Kohn Pederson Fox AssociastesAlexander Tylevich, A-Spire. Image Source: Alexander Tylevich.

“Architecturally, it helps to enrich this environment and beautify the interior.” Tylevich said. “On a simple level, I just want people coming to this building for any reason to smile when they look at this piece.”

Another set of featured pieces in the facility came from professional artist, Michael Tonder. Drawing inspiration from the annual ice-melt of the Mississippi River, his glass sculptures seek to capture the essence of the blue-green edges of ice chunks, which fracture and crack under the warming sunlight.

IMG_8857Michael Tonder

Tonder Wall Piece 2ndMichael Tonder

“The healing power of art, I think, really refers to peoples’ ability to relate to something and reach inside and find strength that they may not have realized they have,” said Tonder. “Focusing on a piece of artwork can take people out of the moment to look at a broader picture.”

Adam Colangelo, another featured artist from the collection, provided insight into his process. His signature design elements present a fusion between the geometric and organic. His unique creative process harnesses the transformative nature of copper through oxidization and flame coloring. The living, breathing landscapes he creates simultaneously include visual references to the world, while being rooted in grid-like abstraction.

adam colangelo2Adam Colangelo, Solace. Image Source: Adam Colangelo.

“I have always believed that art carries with it the ability to communicate when words are not enough,” said Colangelo. “A beautiful piece of art can change attitudes, provide an outlet for contemplation, and ultimately, help those in need.”




Artwork provides a greater benefit than just filling a blank space on a wall. Rather, art elicits a personal response and allows for a dialogue to begin. As each of these three artists described, artwork creates the opportunity to ponder ideas larger than oneself and connect with others on a personal level. This connection could be as simple as putting a smile on someone’s face, or it could be something with a more profound influence, relating to an individual on a personal level. Whichever it may be, art is a connector that feeds the soul. With only a slew of benefits, who wouldn’t want a life surrounded by art?