While many still associate hospitals with wide white empty hallways that smell of disinfectant we are beginning to see a long term art movement, that has set to work on humanising the hospital site and elevating it to a space where patients, visitors and faculty can be put at ease and made to feel welcome.
Countless studies have shown that art aids the healing process; bringing down the heart rate, provoking a ‘joy response’, lowering stress and providing a much-needed opportunity for contemplation and distraction for staff and patients. This is by no means a new idea. In the early nineteenth century, the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, was a strong advocate for art in hospitals and its positive effects on the healing process.
So the question is not if it works, the question is how can we make it work to the best effect? We always advocate that art should be integrated into a building from the beginning, allowing for seamless implementation. A hospital is no different. By incorporating art into the design of the building what could be seen as sterile and scary places such as the operating theatre, the waiting room or the ward can instead be transformed into spaces that incorporate elements of fun, offer a solace and create a welcoming and warm space.
From culturally informed placemaking to art-based wayfinding, here are some artistically inspired hospital creative strategies Art Pharmacy have been mulling over.
From passive, calming art experiences, to more learning-based, interactive and distracting installations - here’s how you can think differently about getting arts and culture into hospitals.