Campbell River Arts Council

What other hospitals have done art initiatives- do they have policies? If so what are some examples?

hospital 1Most hospitals have a foundation that is responsible for charitable donations. Art is considered a charitable donation and qualifies for a tax benefit through a receipt. The Hospital Foundation usually handles the art donations and the collection. For example, the VGH and UBC hospitals have a joint foundation that launched an art program in 2000 and now boasts of an impressive collection of over 1200 works donated by local artists and collectors. Many prestigious artists are named in the VGH/UBC collection and the value of the collection grows over time through the donation of artworks. To an artist, it is of high value to be in an art collection and it is important to understand the protocols and display requirements when accepting art.

The VGH/UBC hospital foundation partners with Emily Carr University on the Idea Art Award, an annual contest for Emily Carr students and recent graduates. The grand prize is 5000 and the winner’s artwork is place in the hospital and becomes part of the collection. The value and function of their work is increased when placed into a health care context.

Example: Lions Gate Hospital Foundation

All art donations have to be approved by an Art Program Committee and the donor is responsible for framing and transportation of the work to the hospital.


Image Bank

American Art Resources, located in the the US where Health Design and Art are coming together through Evidence Based Research. Evidence Based Research means exactly what it sounds like, it is research based on evidence and not on ‘taste’ or ‘opinion’, which means that art for hospitals is not chosen by artists or connoisseurs, but by the people who use the facility.

Artist, Photographer and retired Physician, Henry Domke (USA), has put together book of online research based on his blog:

View his online portfolio of Nature Art for Health Care:



What Makes For Successful Art In Hospitals?

hospital 4Research has shown that patients prefer nature scenes and large landscapes with calm water or skies and open space in the foreground. It is shown that patients who have a view of nature out the window in their hospital room use half as much pain mediation and leave one day sooner that those who look at a blank wall.

Art Carts have been successful in some hospitals (i.e. Houston, TX) where patients are given a choice of images to hang in their room, increasing social contact, giving them a sense of being in control and improving their feelings of trust and hope. houston-hospitals-tap-into-the-connection-between-inspired-works-and- getting-better/

Research performed by Jill Banting. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Are there general guidelines for what to avoid and what to encourage when it comes to placing art in hospitals?

Abstract art is the least favorite according to evidence-based research and any art that might evoke negative feelings. Some contemporary art is not used because patients report not feeling comfortable with it, either because it is ambiguous or confusing. Nature scenes, images with animals, water, people, calm weather and foliage are favored.

Patient Preferences:

  1. Nature landscapes (most popular)
  2. Animals
  3. Scenes of everyday life
  4. Portraits
  5. Urban landscapes
  6. Abstract (least popular)

Are some aspects considered more ‘therapeutic' than others, both in terms of content (art aesthetic) and placement within the building?

Biophilia is a term used in some research to support the human pre- disposition towards nature imagery. According to research, the human brain was wired ten to fifty thousand years ago in the African savannah. The savannah is a meadow surrounded by trees, a place where predators can easily be seen and most likely providing a safe feeling for human beings. Children identify highly with this type of scene, showing that we are deeply embedded, genetically and visually with nature.

Research over the last several decades indicates that nature promotes healing in healthcare settings, improves productivity and satisfaction in the workplace, and increases wellbeing and reduces stress in all environments. Scientists hypothesize that people have an inherent attraction to nature, called Biophilia, which makes viewing nature, even images of nature, a genuine psychophysiological benefit.

Scientific evidence is clear and convincing. Viewing nature scenes plays a key role in creating a healing environment that can improve patient outcome. Research suggests that nature art can:

  1. Reduce stress and anxiety
  2. Lower blood pressure
  3. Reduce need for pain medication
  4. Increase patients’ trust and confidence
  5. Be a positive distraction for patients, visitors, and staff.

List of Healing Art Organizations in the USA:

Examples of Images: