The placement of artwork in healthcare facilities has assuredly ramped up its pace in recent years. Hospitals are paying particular attention to enhancing the patient environment. Art installations are now part of the initial budget and are playing a more significant role in the design of a facility instead of being an afterthought.

Whether it’s a sculpture, beautiful landscapes in patient rooms, or contemplative scenes in waiting areas, it has been shown that the right selection of art in a healthcare setting can influence the moods of visitors and staff and, most importantly, help to improve the healing of patients.

Johns Hopkins’ newest building, The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center and the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Tower, included the artwork of 30 artists who created a total of more than 300 pieces of art. With a curator to guide the process, Johns Hopkins was able to incorporate these art pieces to serve as an educational and wayfinding aid while still focusing on the curative characteristics of the art. Health systems elsewhere are also enlivening and enriching their spaces through their art programs and committing the resources needed to make these initiatives a success.   

Hospitals are beginning to understand that placing any piece of art that seems pretty or striking is not the answer. However, how do you please the eye of a diverse population with wide-ranging taste? There has been much research conducted on how art affects the brain. For example, a position paper from The Center for Health Design, Guide to Evidence-Based Art, written by Kathy Hathorn, MA, and Upali Nanda, PhD, gives great information about art in the healthcare setting along with case studies.

Regardless of the size of the art program in a hospital the more important aspect is it’s relation to the patient, staff, and visitors. Expanding these art programs also serves a way to share with the community and bring awareness to the importance of art.

Read more articles and blogs about art in the healthcare setting on the HEALTHCARE DESIGN website.