NOAH has recruited a select group of leaders and pioneers in the field of Arts in Health to serve as Ambassadors for NOAH. These Ambassadors represent NOAH to the field of Arts in Health in the United States and to their local networks, and serve as an outside advisory group to the NOAH board. These individuals have shaped the field of Arts in Health and continue to display extraordinary dedication to its growth and success. We are grateful for their support!

Over the next several months we will be publishing profiles on each of these notable individuals, many of whom you can meet and network with at our conference this September.


Your name and qualifications:

Marlene Moore Alexander; B.F.A. in painting and printmaking from the Kansas City Arts Institute and School of Design; Graduate Certificate in Arts in Medicine from the University of Florida

Your occupation(s):

Teacher, owner of Creative Arts (children’s art school), painter, arts coordinator for Partners in Care (hospice), musician

Is there a website for your program?


Describe a typical work day:

I founded the Arts in the Hospital program at St. Charles Medical Center in 1990 and became the hospital’s Arts Coordinator. I worked at the hospital 4 days a week, and started each day by checking with each floor’s head nurse to see which patients might need my expertise. I would then take my newly created ‘art cart ‘and visit the patients on each floor. I created two galleries within the hospital, and another area health center as well.  I selected all the art for the hospital’s walls, patient rooms, and spent much of my time working with quadriplegics and paraplegics in rehab teaching them to paint. I designed the easels for the quadriplegics. In 2008, I took my expertise to Partners in Care (hospice) and created the Arts in Care Program which includes a rotating gallery called The Arts in Care Gallery.

A typical work day for me now includes a variety of jobs. I teach private children’s art classes. I travel with hospice nurses to patients’ homes to bring art to them. I create respite projects for nurses’ aides, social workers and all caregivers at Partners in Care. I teach art to 8 students each day in my studio. I am involved in a variety of arts projects within the community as well, and do my best to get to my painting studio to create. I am represented in a gallery in Bend, Oregon, where I live and a gallery in Camas, Washington.

How did you become involved in the field of Arts in Health?

In 1989, I began doing art with a cancer support group at our local hospital. I would finish a workday of teaching children art and then head to the hospital to work with the cancer support group which included patients, their spouses, and children. That year, I heard about a group of people that were going to meet in The Dalles, Oregon, to review the first Planetree hospital model at Mid-Columbia Medical Center. Since I lived in Oregon I was very interested as well, so I went to The Dalles and met with the greatest group of people ever! Janice Palmer, Sally Bailey and John Graham Pole took me under their wings and from that moment forward I knew I was passionate about the healing arts and what each person in the group was doing. We were all doing much of the same work in hospitals so we had immediate connections and support. The SAH conferences began and I have only missed two in all of these years.  I was so motivated to continue in this field and was continually encouraged by Janice and Sally with whom I have stayed connected.  They motivated me to keep doing what I was doing!!

Could you describe your first encounter with an Arts in Health conference or event? Any meaningful experiences that you’d like to share?

The first conference I attended drew me into this field in the most positive way. Early conferences had sessions that were so meaningful to me as an artist. Most of the early sessions had demonstrations of projects which one could participate in and take the project and ideas back to their place of work. Being a visual artist I was so impressed with the projects that were then presented. I do believe that the biggest draw for me were the “hands on” projects and discussions in the groups about how these projects made a positive difference with patients and caregivers.

What aspect of your Arts in Health work resonates the most with you?

What resonates most with me in this field is seeing a patient improve from their participation.  Knowing that you have made a difference in someone’s life, for however long it lasts, is one of the biggest rewards anyone can receive.

What advice would you give to someone planning to enter the field of Arts in Health as a professional?

My advice to someone entering the field of Arts in Health as a professional is to pay attention to boundaries. Make sure that you include those that are important in your institution of your work, and develop their support early on.

Are you planning on attending NOAH’s inaugural Arts in Health conference this September? If so, what are you most looking forward to?

I am planning on attending NOAH’s inaugural Arts in Health conference.  I am looking SUPER forward to seeing many of the people I have worked with as a member of SAH and the Global Alliance and the board members I served on the board with for 8 years.  I am also looking forward to seeing if there are any NEW ideas being introduced that we have not been aware of all these years.