I recently spent a week at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to be with my brother who was having a surgery. I was restless and had plenty of time at hand to walk the many corridors connecting the hospitals’ wings. Luckily, the Mayo Clinic has an amazing collection of artwork, thoughtfully curated and displayed in corridors and lobbies, others installed in manicured garden alcoves and lawns. Not only did these keep me occupied from delving into unnecessary “what ifs”, but made me think and wonder how they were created. These works of art became my connection to a world of leisure and learning one usually leaves behind when he or she enters a hospital: the world of museums and art galleries.
Mayo Clinic is not alone in this respect as other major hospitals acquire artwork to display. The research has shown that displayed art not only helps soften the harsh edges of these large institutional buildings, but also livens their antiseptic environment. Recently built John Hopkins, Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center and The Sheikh Zayed Tower incorporated the works of art into their construction program. They commissioned more than 500 works of art by 70 artists for the Children’s Center.
Spokesperson for Cleveland Clinic’s art program said that their art collection is not just beneficial to their patients but also to visitors and the staff members who work in a stressful environment. Hospitals often raise money privately for their art collections, while some of the works are donated by generous patrons. In recent times, the expense to acquire art works is folded into the construction budgets of the new construction programs.
In a 2014, a Wall Street Journal article Lisa Harris, a chief executive of Eskenazi Health affiliated with Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, said “These are not just accoutrements or aesthetics anymore.” They have since raised $1.5 million to commission 19 original works of art for their new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital. Miss Harris said these works of art were to give a sense of optimism, vitality and energy. Besides displaying art works, many hospitals have incorporated art lessons in their treatment programs for children with disabilities and patients suffering with Alzheimer’s.
For additional information:
Art & Healing at Mayo Clinic published 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW0rGbhWZY8 Cleveland clinic