The Chihuly Sanctuary at Buffett Cancer Center

Healing through public art

The Chihuly Sanctuary is a place for healing and peace found within the Buffet Cancer Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Chihuly Sanctuary at Buffett Cancer Center is a collection of artwork across two floors. A majority of the artwork at the Chihuly Sanctuary is blown glass in Dale Chihuly's signature style. Nebraska Medicine describes The Chihuly Sanctuary as, "A place of respite and reflection for patients, families and staff." This sense of respite and reflection is achieved through the beautiful artwork, soft lighting, and calming music that plays throughout areas of The Chihuly Sanctuary.

The Chihuly Sanctuary is just one of the many "Healing Arts" programs at the Buffet Cancer Center. Nebraska Medicine says that the goal of the Healing Arts program is to, "go beyond curing a disease and begin to heal the human spirit" and to, "support and comfort people through the diverse art opportunities and experiences."

Art and healing have a long history of being used hand in hand. While simply treating the physical body of the patient can be successful, doctors today know that ensuring that patients experience healing for non-physical symptoms is also important. Buffet Cancer Center, as one of the top cancer research centers in the country, is also attempting to help patients and families cope with impending loss and grief. According to Strauss, writing in the New York Times, "artists have always combated grave tragedy with grave beauty." The juxtaposition of beauty and tragedy are able to help families and patients feel peace and comfort in what can be a horrible, debilitating process.

While many artists, historically, have used the creation of art as a process to deal with grief, simply being in the presence of great art and having a chance to meditate, reflect, and calm onesself can have healing effects. According to Nebraska Medicine, one of the stated goals of the Healing Arts program (and specifically, the Chihuly Sanctuary), is to "create a space where patients, researchers and caregivers can meditate and find a moment of peace." This goal is a worthwhile one; according to Megan Devine, meditation and mindfulness can be a strong aid in the grieving process, not to eliminate grief, but rather to acknowledge it. She writes that meditation and mindfulness, "is meant to help you acknowledge the truth of the moment you're in, even, or especially, when that moment hurts."




505 S 45th St, Omaha, NE 68105 Note: Chihuly Sanctuary is on the 2nd and 3rd floor