Pictures are powerful. They can inspire, inform, and even save lives. While it may seem that elementary school art students and medical practitioners have little in common, they both understand the importance of images.
Dr. Sergio Ginaldi is one of the specialists at Radiology Associates of Tallahassee and he explained “a radiologist is not a guy that fixes the radio, it’s a physician that uses imaging created by different machineries to get to what is needed for the patient. The visual is the core of the mind and the brain of the radiologist. Also, we like art.”
That’s very good news for local art teachers and students. For the past three years, they have benefited from the Healthy Lungs art contest, a concept originated by Dr. Ginaldi and supported by his colleagues. Local elementary school art students are invited to design and create images that spread awareness about lung health.
This contest is personal for Debi Menacof, an art teacher at Roberts Elementary, and it gives her an opportunity to talk to her students about the effects of smoking and to share a bit of her own story.
She said the classroom work “really opens up this whole conversation. My father smoked and died of cancer and I tell my students about that. They then share different stories about people they know and we’ll talk about how their parents quit smoking.” Menacof’s art students learn not only about the dangers of smoking cigarettes but also vaping, secondhand smoke and pollutants in the air.
They also spend time discussing personal choices and what they can do to make a positive difference regarding lung health. “If the conversation starts at an earlier age, it will hopefully deter them from becoming smokers,” said Menacof.
In addition to focusing on wellness, Menacof uses the contest as an opportunity to teach graphic design skills. “I show them other posters that professionals have done and we talk about the layout and composition. We also talk about spelling, not having too much writing, making sure your images are clear, and making sure that your color choices are bold and attention getting.”
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