We’ve heard about so many incredible programs that bring the creative arts into hospitals for sick kids. Houston’s own Writers in the Schools boasts a long-running a very successful writing residency at M.D. Anderson.
But this looks like a new approach. At Nashville Children’s Hospital, a Mobile Makerspace “comes in the form of a large, metal cart, carrying materials and tools young patients can use to create objects…, small-scale engineering projects.”
What’s brilliant about the examples detailed in this Youth Radio story is that they are ingeniously addressing common problems in healthcare design. One child made a doorbell for her nurses. Another made a “nurse nightlight.”
These kids are invested in ideas that will improve their own experience as patients. Anyone monitoring HCAHPS scores should take note.
We say it again and again. “Art is not an option.”
It just doesn’t make sense to think of art as anything less than an essential component of human experience.
So when we consider our built environment – homes, workplaces, public spaces, gathering places, and sanctuaries – works of art don’t just complement the walls and rooms, they make the space complete. Otherwise, we fail to thrive. Happily, we have empirical evidence to support these claims that we can’t do without the visual arts in our workplaces and hospitals
Now take a look at how art can make an educational experience complete. This story describes the efforts of a school in Burlington, Vermont, to integrate art-making into lessons on science, math, social studies, and language.
We are very proud of our project at Children’s Health System of Texas (formerly Children’s Medical Center Dallas), featured in CODA Magazine’s special issue on “Healing Art.” A photo from this project was used in the letter from the editor!
A few months ago, we published a link to the magazine, but wanted to spotlight the project profile itself, as well as shining a light on the artist Ron Gordon’s own page, concerning this same project. Here you’ll see more pictures focused on his contribution of a series of collages that help patients and families find their way around the very large campus at Children’s Dallas.
Skyline Art Services has always looked carefully at the best available evidence to support evidence-based design. Unfortunately, when it comes to specifying art, there’s so little evidence to go by, and we have been critical of past studies that seemed to show that patients are universally bothered by seeing abstract art, which could lead to poor outcomes. Some of their methods and their definitions were questionable, perhaps because the researchers had little experience in the creative arts.
At last, we are thrilled to have seen very new research showing that this finding may not be so certain after all.
The evidence was profiled in the Wall Street Journal story we shared several weeks ago, but let’s consider it more closely. Straight to the source: the Health Environments Research & Design Journal (April 2014). (The links provides the article abstract. Paid subscribers can read the whole thing.)
Because we have not wanted to confine our clients to a set of narrow prescriptions in order to utilize Evidence-Based Design, we regularly include options for more comprehensive art programs, incorporating a variety of subjects, styles, and media. We can do this by using the language of art.
Here are the conclusions of the study conducted at the Cleveland Clinic by their own curatorial staff and a research supervisor.
Our findings demonstrate that this particular collection
has a significant effect on the patient experience and on self-reported
mood, stress, comfort, and expectations. These results suggest that
patients may respond positively to the diversity of the collection, and to
other types of art in addition to nature art.
Over the past few months, Skyline Art Services has been closely following the latest efforts to understand and discuss the arts ecology of the city of Houston. We come to these discussions from a rather different perspective than many of our peers in the nonprofit arts organizations, museum administration, university programs, and commercial galleries.
First we attended a meeting of the Center for Houston’s Future, to discuss the Arts & Cultural Heritage Community Indicator Report, and encountered many of the leaders in Houston’s corporate and municipal support for the arts in Houston. The comprehensive report indicates that Houston, as we suspected, is a remarkably rich artistic environment, with huge numbers of people forming audiences for visual arts, performance, and other cultural activities.
At our table, however, we that though the report was published in 2014, its data taken from previous years, was already becoming out-dated. Houston is still heralded as an inexpensive place for artists to make their living, but as we know the red-hot real estate market is making it rather more difficult for artists to afford a place to live near the usual cultural epicenters of Montrose, the Heights, or Downtown.
This conversation among the arts leaders and patrons of the arts, also seemed to want for a bit more perspective from artists themselves. Coming up: we’ll find that perspective in other gatherings and discussions.
This recent story profiles a hospital renovation at University Medical Center at Plainsboro, New Jersey, highlighting all the best features of new patient room design, as well as all the attendant challenges.
We monitor industry news, but love to share these stories when they reach the popular media.
Several hundred decisions, major and minuscule, common-sensical and arcane, went into configuring the [patient] room. Many of them may sound so obvious that one can wonder, financial and real estate constraints aside, why they haven’t always been standard. For starters, the rooms are singles; there are no double rooms. Research shows that patients sharing rooms provide doctors with less critical information (even less if the other patient has guests). Ample space is given to visitors because the presence of family and friends has been shown to hasten recovery.
Ditto the big window: Natural light and a view outdoors have been regarded as morale boosters since long before Alvar Aalto designed his famous Finnish sanitarium in the 1930s (a “medical instrument,” as he called it), bragging about curative balconies and a restorative sun deck.
Deadline: January 15
Texas State University invites professional artists, or artist teams, to submit qualifications to design and fabricate sculpture or sculptures for an exterior and/or interior public space on its campus in San Marcos, Texas. The site is a new residence hall complex, currently under construction on Moore Street.
The Moore Street residence hall complex serves undergraduate students at Texas State, nearly all of whom are freshmen. Their first experience of college life begins on this site, meeting new friends, and preparing for new and life-changing experiences, and meeting the challenge presented by new fields of knowledge and learning. At the west end of campus, the new building’s main entrance will face east toward the unique grounds of Texas State University, built into the hills above San Marcos, characterized by expansive use of brick, stone, and dozens of buildings joined together by stairways, ramps, and terraces. The campus also includes the headwaters of a stunningly clear and cold-spring fed San Marcos River. The area’s visually striking geology and ecology are unique to this part of Texas.
See more about this RFQ, and apply, through callforartist.org.
We always love to point out examples of popular media coverage of healthcare design. Of course it’s not news to us, but it’s not yet common knowledge outside the architecture and design field that “studies show that visual art can help reduce stress for patients and increase satisfaction with care.”
This recent story in the Wall Street Journal confirms what we are eager to share with our clients and our peers, taking the stellar art program at the Cleveland Clinic as a shining example, along with Eskenazi Health in Indiana.
Skyline Art Services finds this especially exciting:
Hospitals aren’t shying away from art whose content is open to interpretation or might make patients reflect. In the spring 2014 issue of the same journal, the Cleveland Clinic reported that patients surveyed on its contemporary collection—which includes abstract and nonrepresentational imagery by some prominent artists—reported a significant positive effect on their experience and on mood, stress, comfort and expectations.
The study suggested patients may respond positively to the diversity of the collection and to other types of art in addition to nature art.
Check out some of the inspiring examples of art in healthcare that are featured. They include work by Jaume Piensa, which our Houston readers will recognize from the kneeling human figures installed at the corner of Montrose Boulevard and Allen Parkway.