Did you know that the concept of art in hospitals and health environments is still a relatively new thing? In most cases, art is not included in an overall budget of new construction or renovation projects for this kind of atmosphere. Art in all of its forms, be it paintings in oil, acrylics, mixed media, photography and prints, is sometimes an afterthought. Or it is not added until the project is almost finished.
We are seeing a shift in this thought process across the world gradually that includes art into the whole planning process from the ground up. For instance, Canada will be opening an 8-story, 640,000 square foot building in November this year: the Teck Acute Care Centre at B. C. Children’s Hospital with a well thought out and purpose driven artistic design where they allotted $1-million dollars out of a $676-million dollar budget for the Children’s Hospital. They put out a call for mostly local artists to contribute their talents with a different theme on each floor. For instance, the first floor will have a harbour and underwater theme; the top floor art will be inspired by mountains. This was well thought out from the planning stages on…. They wanted to create a
whimsical environment with moments of surprise and celebrating the ecological and cultural diversity with the area that the hospital will serve. It is done with the intention of offering children, youth, staff, family and visitors a message of hope and healing. The intention is to improve healing, reduce pain and possibly reduce anxiety in children by as much as 75%. The age range is newborns to 17 year olds. The facility will meet the LEED Gold standard optimized, environmentally responsible way with the use of wood in the interior and exterior of the building. There is a fascinating article at http://www.edmontonjournal.com/health/family-child/children+hospital+calls+country+artists/11807706/story.html.
Will the U.S. and other parts of the world adopt this attitude shift as well? We can only hope so! The future is pointing in a more art friendly, healing and therapeutic approach to the health care industry. The photos included are an example an MRI room at Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA and a lobby in the proposed designs.