P. Muzi Branch

NAP Coordinator- VCU Health
P. Muzi Branch

Philip “Muzi” Branch is the Director of Cultural Programs for the VCU Health System in Richmond, Virginia. Muzi has been successfully coordinating their National Arts Program® Exhibition since 2006. As both an accomplished performing and visual artist Muzi understands the importance that art plays in our lives. Each year he strives to bring forth the extraordinary visual art talents from all VCU employees and their family members.

Currently Virginia Commonwealth University Health System is displaying their Seventh Annual NAP Exhibit in their busy Gateway Gallery. Muzi has said, “an art show and competition like this one benefits the staff, their families and the Gateway Building,” adding that it is part of the VCU Health System’s commitment to employee satisfaction and retention. As their August 31st awards reception approaches we asked Muzi to take a moment and elaborate on this special employee program.
Q. What makes the National Arts Program® different than any other art exhibit put on at VCU Health Systems?
A. During the year VCU presents over 20 exhibits by local and regional artists in our three on-site galleries. The NAP exhibit is different. It gives the volunteers, employees and their family members the opportunity to share their creative talents.
Q. Why do you feel that displaying employee artwork is important?
A. There are 8500 members in the VCU Health System family. The NAP Exhibit fosters a sense of family pride and boosts employee morale. It Allows visitors to feel a connection to the staff in a non-medical way.
Q. How have employees and their families responded to the opportunity to display their artwork?
A.  The response by all is very positive.
Q. Why do you think displaying artwork in the hospital setting is so important?
A. Art installations help to create a healing environment, which decreases patient and caregiver anxiety. Studies show that art can improve patient outcomes and increases overall quality of care.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of the National Arts Program®?
A. The fact that all appropriate artwork is accepted and every participant receives a certificate.
Q. Do visitors to the hospital respond to the employee exhibit?
A. The response by visitors is extremely heartening. Visitors are amazed at the artistic talent displayed by our staff and their family members. They really connect with the artwork when they find out that the art object was made by one of their caregivers.
Q. How has utilizing online registration made the process easier for you?
A. The online registration makes the pre-exhibit preparation easier. I no longer have to transfer the information from paper entry forms to the computer…It’s already done!
Q. Can you tell us how art has had a positive impact on your personal life?
A. In addition to being an arts administrator I am a professional visual artist and musician as well. The arts have allowed me to express myself in a constructive way, generate income and bring joy into the lives of others.
Q. How did you get started in the art field or have you always been involved in the arts? Are you an artist yourself?
A. My Father played piano and also did pencil drawings; I am sure that he influenced me, However it was my mother who encouraged me by buying my early drawings for 10 cents and placing them on the refrigerator door. I have been involved in the arts community in Richmond for over 30 years. I actually won first place in the city wide National Arts Program Exhibit in 1996.
Q. Is there anything else you want to add? Comments about the program, etc.
A. The staff at the NAP (especially Robyn) is tremendously competent, cooperative and congenial.