The Curation of Creative Hospitals
Art in medicine calls upon the humanities as a route for healing and soothing patients. Evidence suggests that visual art in medical facilities can positively affect health outcomes. Cultures of hospital artwork have developed uniquely around the world based on regional context. This qualitative research project examines the arts programming in hospitals in both Southern California, USA and London, England. The purpose is to highlight how each hospital’s experience with artwork is unique and to suggest the findings as guidelines for hospitals seeking to enhance their art collections. First and foremost, hospital art must be of service to patient well-being. By promoting a culture where art is viewed as part of the healing process, the hospital and community alike can support the effort and resource put into the collection. Second, displaying local artists’ work in a hospital gives the community a sense of pride and a setting for staff and visitors to heal or be soothed. Art programming that creates this synergy between a community and a hospital is more sustainable as it promotes a steady flow of funding and contributing artists. Third, momentum boosts hospital art programs: as a program evolves, it becomes easier to commission displays because artists are more likely to want to be featured at their local hospital. Hospitals can thereby be transformed from ordinary medical facilities into symbols of healing and culture with potentially several valuable works.
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