The Walking Gallery is a walking wall of individuals who wear personal patient narrative paintings on their backs. They are attending medical conferences where often there isn’t a patient speaker on the dais or in the audience. They are providing a patient voice, and by doing so, are changing the conversation. While creating national health policy medical professionals and government officials are often more reliant on aggregate data sets, bar charts, graphs and statistics, rather than the whole picture of care, the personal patient narrative and the individual human face.
The Walking Gallery movement hopes to diversify the source content that is used to create the foundation for patient centered care policy, by infusing art imagery depicting a unique patient history or personal story.
An artist or artists will interview medical professionals and lay individuals to form a patient centric narrative. The artist will then create representational imagery and paint that picture story upon the business jacket of the provider of the narrative account. The provider of the patient story aka “Walker” will wear the jacket to medical conferences and events in order to disseminate the patient story to a large group of policy minded attendees and to represent the individual patient voice in venues where they are underrepresented. Further, both artist and walker will support the spread of the story and image via social media.
As of April 2013, 210 unique Walkers have joined the Gallery wearing 232 jackets. The Gallery has representatives on five continents, but the majority of Walkers reside in the US. One artist creates the majority of the art, but new artists are joining and currently make up 14% of content creation within of the Walking Gallery. The Gallery is promoted heavily on Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs. Its widening appeal within the health conference community is creating a new space for patients at such events.