See the original press release at LMU

LMU joining art with anatomy for pilot program

Using Dr. David Velarde’s Scalpel Art program in JFWA and undergraduate curriculum

October 18, 2011— Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is teaming with Dr. David Velarde, a Knoxville-based podiatrist, to incorporate his Scalpel Brush system in multiple curricula University-wide. The Scalpel Art Brush is an innovative way to teach students the ability to use a scalpel by turning the surgeon’s tool into a literal art instrument.

“I am very excited to partner with such and aggressive and dynamic institution such as Lincoln Memorial University. I am confident that this program will be the catalyst for the combination of the studies of art and medicine,” Velarde said. “The Scalpel Art program is an innovative and ground-breaking concept that will further enhance the participating programs at the University.”

Some of the top medical schools in the country are already offering elective classes or workshops incorporating art into medical school curriculum with impressive results. Yale School of Medicine offers a class that uses paintings to teach students the art of observation. At Harvard Medical School a similar class is offered. Research at Harvard showed that studying art can help students make up to 38 percent more accurate observations. The Velarde-developed Scalpel Brush system takes it a step further with a tool that has a place in both the worlds of medicine and art.

"The revolutionary aspect is that Scalpel Art opens up a whole new world of possibilities to aspiring students, no matter what their age or background,” said Velarde.  “It doesn’t matter if a child comes from a low income family- once he dons that surgeon’s gown and paints a few of the anatomy canvas projects, he’ll get the realization that he can indeed take a step toward a medical career.  This program builds confidence as well as skills.”

Velarde is the sole podiatrist at the Advanced Foot Care Center in Knoxville, a practice he joined in 2004 and took over from the retiring Dr. Barry Ritchie. Prior to moving to Tennessee, he practiced in Florida. Velarde earned a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Texas State University and went on to receive his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine.

Combining an art brush with an actual medical scalpel, the Scalpel Art Brush melds science with art to increase artistic and medical hand skills, make learning anatomy easier and enhance artistic skills while gaining confidence in projects and challenges. Additionally, the program allows students and artists to download and print a series of free anatomical images, ranging from basic anatomy for kids to advanced anatomy for medical school students. These anatomy illustrations can be downloaded on 8.5” x 11” inkjet printable canvas sheets on your home computer or brought to a local print shop to printed on any size stretched canvas board. The program downloads are found on the company website,

The program was developed by Velarde with the notation that intuitive and simultaneous processes of the right brain meeting with the analytical and sequential services of the left brain will result in advanced learning and retention. The revolutionary tool is designed to equip a student with a hands-on style of teaching that provides numerous benefits in combining the worlds of science and art.

The pilot program at LMU will first be integrated in LMU’s college preparatory institution, the J. Frank White Academy. JFWA Art Instructor Cindy Hankins-Koppel will incorporate the tool in her advanced art curriculum beginning this fall.

“Art classes at the Academy are already structured to integrate core content into the classroom environment to support learning in other areas.  The application of Dr. Velarde’s Scalpel Brushes into our art program will greatly benefit Academy students as they learn to construct meaning and tactile association to the study of Anatomy and Physiology,” Hankins-Koppel said. “By increasing their skills in the critical analysis of art and observation through drawing and painting with Velarde’s scalpel brushes, Academy students will develop a heightened sense of balance in their hand-eye coordination.  Art analysis and expression require higher order thinking and will fundamentally provide a foundation for Academy students to translate these skills into the ability to analyze the information a patient provides with a deeper understanding as well as increasing their observation skills in diagnosis.”

The Paul V. Hamilton School of Arts and Sciences, where the concept of interdisciplinary study is already in use, may also use the tool in undergraduate art curriculum. The School offers a field study course that incorporates art appreciation and biology. The course is highlighted by a trip to the Central American country of Belize where the students use their art and biology lessons for a field experience project.

LMU is considering opportunities to include Scalpel Art in art and anatomy courses open to undergraduate students and post baccalaureate medical students.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies.  The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Video Introduction

Watch our short video introducing the Scalpel Brush and discover a new world where Science and Art merge.

Getting Started


Scalpel Brush Science & Art merge


Surgical Gown Dress for the role.


Canvas Pad Have the supplies

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