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I spent a month over the winter attending Chatham County artist Emma Skurnick‘s weekly open studio sessions where I focused on developing my novice drawing skills. Over the summer, I read in the local arts council newsletter that Emma was set to teach an anatomy drawing class at Duke University Medical School this fall.

I’m fascinated by the intersection of the arts and sciences. (You might have guessed this from my many visits to the poetry science cafes.) So I reached out to a local paper about the story, and it was rejected due to lack of funds for freelance contributors. Then I reached out to another publication and it was accepted. And, yes, this means I have another query to add to Magazine Queries That Worked!

Read “Can Learning to Draw Make Duke Medical Students Better Doctors?” in INDY Week. (On Page 8 of the print edition 9/13/17.)

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This was not only an interesting topic to write about, but I was surprised by how many fascinating people I interviewed. When I pitched the piece I thought I was going to do two interviews: One of Emma and one with Duke. Once I was in touch with Emma I learned that the drawing class had started the year before and had been led by another artist. I learned that two students had conceived of the program, and that another was in charge of facilitating the class this year. My expectation of two interviews turned into much more.

One of the surprising things I was not able to include in the article due to space constraints was that the artist who guided the drawing class last year, Ippy Patterson, had last been in touch with Emma 17 years ago. That was around the time that Emma moved to North Carolina and had reached out to Ippy when she learned of their shared interest in science illustration. Now, nearly two decades later, Ippy called Emma up out of the blue and invited her to guide this year’s class.

Imagine all of the people you meet during your life and how someone can resurface with such an exciting proposition! Then imagine the doctors who get to experience this anatomy drawing class to get a closer understanding of the human body, and how that experience will inform their practice for years to come.