Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Henry Domke always wanted to be an artist, but when art school didn’t work out after high school, personal and religious convictions led him to pursue a medical practice. The New Bloomfield resident then spent 25 years as a doctor in Jefferson City, operating the popular Family Care Associates practice down the street from the state capital.
It was a career choice he enjoyed, but he said he felt something was missing.
“My definition of an artist is somebody who can’t say no (to art), and I wanted to get back (to art),” said Domke. “I decided to take it seriously.”
His yearning for art in his life lead him to private lessons , which in turn led to graduate courses in painting and eventually photography. His family land, New Bloomfield’s Prairie Garden Trust, served as his muse. Now retired from practice, Domke’s photographs — most of which were taken in Callaway County — are still at work in the medical field as popular fixtures in hospitals across the country.
The idea that art can have medical effects stems from a theory known as evidence-based art.
“The whole idea behind evidence-based art is that certain kinds of nature pictures can be calming,” said Domke. “Being calm may have some therapeutic benefits in a health care environment, because they are highly stressful, so if you can reduce that stress it’s a good thing.”
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