All posts tagged “Art”

Digital Butterfly Sanctuary Comes to Life at Carilion Children’s Tanglewood Center

Dimensional Innovations recently completed a digital art wall, Social Butterflies, for the Carilion Children’s Tanglewood Center in Roanoke, Virginia. Symbolizing restoration and tranquility, the butterfly holds a special place in the heart of Carilion Children’s, even serving as an element of its brand logo. The team worked alongside Stage Sound to bring the digital butterfly sanctuary to life. Read More …

Saint Joseph Hospital in Downtown Denver is Complete

DENVER, Colo. – The move to Saint Joseph Hospital’s new building at 19th Avenue and Lafayette Street, just two blocks west of its former location, is complete. Read More …

The Healing Power of Art

Environments have the power to set our expectations, lift our spirits and inspire hope. Read More …

Redefining Rural Care: Peace Island Medical Center

Residents of San Juan Island in Washington’s Puget Sound no longer require expensive helicopter service or slow ferry rides to access professional medical care. The 38,500-square-foot Peace Island Medical Center, with a total of 68 caregivers, now provides clinic access six days a week and 24-hour emergency care service seven days a week to this rural community. Read More …

The Healing Powers of Art in Healthcare

By Pat Malick

Much has been written about the appropriate selection of art in healthcare settings, and credible studies exist that support the many positive benefits to patients, families, caregivers and the public-at-large.

While the selection criteria remains fairly subjective, if carefully considering these A, B, Cs (and D and E), the end result will produce a remarkable and varied collection of art: representational and abstract, tranquil and bold, local and global. When thoughtfully and appropriately placed, the collection will have deep meaning and purpose.

To develop an art program that will resonate with a diverse healthcare audience, keep in mind how personal background, age, culture and education level influence personal preference. An experienced art viewer will typically be more receptive to abstract art; less experienced art viewers tend to prefer more figurative elements. The lesson is to select art with nuance and a variety of notes.

While not a new term or concept, there is a greater understanding of an innate and evolutionary-based affinity for nature. In 1984, Edward O. Wilson wrote a compelling book, “Biophilia,” about our universal response to nature. Applying this knowledge to the selection of art in a healthcare setting will support the commonly held belief that nature imagery will have greater resonance and consonance.

In the art world there are dual meanings for context. First, it speaks to the moment in time the art was created — the historical, political or cultural influences of a given time. The second meaning of the context relates specifically to scale, proportion, composition, dominance, movement, color and balance. Selection and placement of art in a healthcare setting demands a more careful examination of each element. A large public space with great natural light can support a monumental abstract or mixed-media work. The same piece would likely miss the mark in small-scale or insignificant space.

When experiencing pain, sorrow or great stress, a beautiful work of art will universally serve to distract and, at its best, will calm, uplift, inspire, delight and even amuse. Patient surveys, across inpatientCollage/outpatient, acute/non-acute and adult/adolescent/pediatric settings, consistently reveal a strong desire for variety of subject matter, different mediums, art that prompts a feeling of escape or relief and, time and time again, art that is whimsical.

At its very best, art will engage and transport the viewer. Designers set the stage for engagement through the arrangement of space, light, color, furnishings and, finally, the art selection. However, ultimately it is the potential for an experience that is created. Every encounter with art is highly subjective and personal — that’s the reward for a well-conceived art program. Effectiveness may be measured in the enduring aspects of a given work, as well as how deeply it resonates with a particular patient demographic given the unique challenges of that distinct anticipated patient experience. Including a simple plaque with each piece, which tells the story of the art and artist, creates an installation that is didactic in nature — empowering the viewer to engage at different levels depending on their state of mind during any given encounter.

Capital Health RA strategic approach to a comprehensive art program, informed by the tenets of Evidence-Based Design, is certain to reap tangible, quantitative results, such as reduced blood pressure, pain perception and reliance on pain medication. More difficult to quantify are the immeasurable positive benefits of investing in a top-tier art program. Benefits include: strong first impressions, which correlate to perceived quality, improved patient and staff satisfaction, and enhanced wayfinding when art is used as a landmark. The simple joy of discovering a special piece of art that has the power to spark our imagination and nourish our spirit is the true testament to a successful program.

Patricia D. Malick, AAHID, EDAC, is a founding principal and the practice area leader for interior design with Array Architects. She can be reached at

Image Captions
Cantamar: This installation, by Woods Davy, is from his Cantamar series. The peaceful, gravity-defying essence of this piece serves as an inspiration to cancer patients at the University Hospital’s Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Art Curator: Trudy Wiesenberger.
Trust: The glass sculpture entitled “TRUST,” positioned in the UH Ahuja Medical Center inpatient tower visitor elevator lobby, conveys a powerful message. Art curator: Trudy Wiesenberger.
Collage: Visitors are greeted at the UH Seidman Cancer Center reception area by a collage by Thermon Statom entitled “Nueva Historias (New Histories). Art Curator: Trudy Wiesenberger.
Capital Health: The installation at Capital Health Medical Center in New Jersey repurposes art glass installed in the original hospital meditation room, which was slated for demolition. The new configuration provides a special focal point, flanked by adjacent accent windows, and offers a special link to the healthcare organization’s heritage.

Local Flavor: Incorporating Regional Artwork Showcases Area Artists, Promotes Healing

Original artwork has long been a part of the corporate environment, used to enhance common spaces, boardrooms and private workspaces. Companies have made art central to their corporate brand, building regional and national collections to support artists, create positive work environments and reach out to the community. Yet hospitals and healthcare facilities often have lagged behind the corporate world when it comes to art collection. Read More …

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