Integrating art into a facility must be considered at a high level, from reflecting the culture of the people who use the space to being able to function effectively within its operations.

But a few roadblocks may be encountered before a project even gets off the ground.

Here are four tips from Spellman Brady & Co.’s Diana Spellman and Kathryn Brucker that they shared in a sidebar to the article "Assimilating Art Into Healthcare Design Projects" on how best to navigate around such pesky issues as small budgets and short schedules.

  1. If there’s a small budget for art, dollars should first be appropriated to key patient zones determined during schematic design/design development phases. Once these areas are addressed, then strategically placed corridor artwork is ideal to help with wayfinding.
  2. Spellman and Brucker say large, attention-grabbing lobby installations are definitely worth splurging on versus purchasing a variety of gallery pieces. These hard-to-forget works help create an image or logo that represents the facility as a whole.
  3. If there’s no budget for expensive pieces, one trick is to increase the scale of a stock image to create a more dynamic visual. Another is to create a composition artwork feature— the sum of which, they say, is stronger than the smaller individual pieces.
  4. Being short on time is a whole other story, and relying on knowledge of the client and its branding can help determine direction for an art program that’s unique to that facility. Planning is critical: Spellman and Brucker recommend establishing an artwork team of no more than five stakeholders, including people like the chief nursing officer and physicians; developing a timeline for critical path management; setting meeting dates for the team to create a rhythm for the project; and presenting that timeline upfront to get buy-in on the schedule and when decisions will need to be made.