Working in a New Normal: The Power of Art for Health

Surname: Bill Gregory

Position: Fine Arts, Arts and Health Program Coordinator at Duke

Years at Herzog: 5

What he does at Duke: Gregory brings joy to Duke Health employees, patients, and families.

Every year he ships around 3,000 art sets that include a diary, playing cards and a coloring book Gregory created with scenes from Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Duke University Chapel, and other campus spots.

Gregory also helps with planning and Set up exhibits at Duke University Hospital, Duke Eye Center, Duke Cancer Center, and Duke South with paintings, drawings, and mixed media works from Arts & Health in Duke’s 4,000-piece collection.

“We go for uplifting art that puts a smile on people’s faces,” said Gregory. “We hope that someone can look at a work of art and have a brief moment of relaxation, away from all the stress at work or their health.”

How has his job changed since the pandemic: Gregory worked from home for six weeks and then returned to campus to serve as a symptom monitoring screener at the entrances to Duke University Hospital, Duke Medicine Pavilion, and Duke South for four months.

“I was very pleased to know that I could return to campus and do a small part in making things work,” said Gregory. “It was exciting to see people show up every day to do their job. You could feel a team spirit in the air. “

After returning to Arts & Health at Duke late last summer, Gregory dropped off art supplies outside of patient rooms or gave them to nurses.

“Arts & Health restricted our patient contact in 2020,” he said. “Working as a screener was a great way to interact with patients and staff that I wouldn’t otherwise see,” said Gregory.

An eight-part mural in Duke University Hospital honors frontline workers.  Photo courtesy Bill Gregory.What aspect of his job is he most proud of in these challenging times?: Gregory and his three colleagues in Arts & Health at Duke commissioned Raleigh artist Sean Kernick to create an eight-part mural in the north hall of Duke University Hospital.

The mural shows Duke employees who worked on the front lines during the pandemic.

“This is how we celebrate everyone who comes to work every day,” said Gregory.

TV show or series that got him through: Gregory watches It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia when he needs a pick-me-up. The series, which has 14 seasons, is about five friends who own an Irish bar in Philadelphia.

“It’s a pointless opportunity to laugh,” said Gregory. “You don’t have to think twice when you see it.”

Lesson Learned During COVID-19 Les: Limit your message recording.

Gregory felt overwhelmed as he scrolled through social media and news websites in the early days of the pandemic. He relied on messages from Duke leaders to understand the latest updates.

“I took comfort knowing that the information I was getting about COVID-19 was as close to the source as possible,” said Gregory. “That made things a little less intimidating.”

Bill Gregory is holding a striper that he caught on Kerr Lake.  Photo courtesy Bill Gregory.This is how he maintains his well-being: Every few weeks he visits his favorite fishing spots in the Pisgah National Forest, the Falls Lake State Recreation Area and the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. He fishes for trout, perch and red drum.

“For me, being on the water or in the mountains is my therapy,” he says. “Getting disconnected is my way of spending my time.”

Something most people don’t know about him: Gregory ran Urban Angler, a fly fishing shop in New York City, for nine months in 2003. He has helped direct urban anglers’ fishing trips to Montana, the Florida Keys, and the Caribbean.

“Fishing allowed me to see the world,” said Gregory.

How do you work in a new normal? Tell us about it or nominate a colleague from write us or complete that Story ideas form.

Comments are closed.