Putting art on the walls of hospitals has been proven to improve the well being of patients and staff members. Art creates stimulation and vibrancy to what can otherwise be sterile walls. It soothes and distracts in intense situations, such as entering into surgery. And it's especially effective when the patient is a child.
Some hospitals have an ongoing arts programme that encourages art workshops with patients, and art commissions.
With the recent Artfelt commissioned project by British designer Morag Myerschough to design patterns for the new wing at Sheffield Children's Hospital, we look back on some of the creative projects, commissions and collaborations that have taken place within the walls of UK and US hospitals.
Morag Myerschough: Sheffield Children's Hospital
Morag has designed schemes for 46 en suit bedrooms and six multi occupancy bays, the latest in a series of commissions by Artfelt, the Children’s Hospital Charity’s arts programme.
Morag designed four schemes that rotate throughout the rooms, including a paler colourway specifically designed for children who have conditions like autism and may have intolerance to bright patterns.
Because Morag was working within the clinical area, everything she produced had to be completely sterile and easy to clean – so painting straight onto the walls wasn’t an option. Morag’s brief was to create a design on Formica.
Pencil and Help: Sheffield Children’s Hospital
Pencil and Help came up with the idea of creating a hide-and-seek game at Sheffield Children’s Hospital that develops as you walk throughout the Medical DayCare ward. It uses ten different creatures designed by patients who were in a workshop with the artists.
A red-coloured creature Wheeler counts down from the foyer, and other creatures can be spotted around the ward peeping out from door frames, corners and on the walls.
Having the characters designed by the children themselves gives them control over their hospital experience and tailors the space to suit them.
UK Artists Collaboration: Sheffield Children's Hospital
Staff at the same hospital found a set of 1970s toys that were used for test hearing in children but became damaged and could no longer be used.
Manager of Children’s Hospital Charity art programme Artfelt Cat Powell set out to restore the mini figures and bring them back into use.
UK artists were commissioned by Powell to paint 250 figures depicting everything from superheroes and animals to woman from around the world and characters from popular culture.
Chris Haughton: Royal London Hospital
London's Barts Health NHS Trust's Vital Arts organisation commissioned children's picture book illustrator Chris Haughton to create large-scale murals in one of the Royal London Hospital's paediatric wards.
Chris's work spans the seven patient rooms, plus the reception/staff base, playroom kitchen and corridor.
Each room has the same artisitcs elements but with a different animal, including parrots and lions.
Chris spoke to the nurses about how each ward was used, then sketched his ideas, Photoshopped them into photos of the ward and got feedback before making his final artworks into vinyl.
Tado: Sheffield Children’s Hospital
Character design duo Tado created vinyl decorations for the hydrotherapy pool of Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Tado was asked to bring the pool and surrounding areas to life, and to create a happy and calm area.
Characters were placed on the wall and ceiling so they could be seen by children with mobility disabilities who are brought into the room and lowered into the pool using a hoist.
Chris O’Shea: Sheffield Children’s Hospital
Interactive play designer Chris O’Shea produced a Kinect-based installation at the Royal London Hospital’s redeveloped play space.
Woodland Wiggle is a game he designed to be played on a giant TV screen placed within a playroom featuring oversized furniture and stuffed toys.
The game uses Microsoft Kinect motion, a visual capture device connected to a Mac and the screen to bring children into a series of woodland scenes based around the animals.
Sandrine Dubois: Great Ormond Street Hospital
The Elephant Daycare of the Great Ormond Street Hospital was renamed Safari Daycare when it relocated to a new space.
The hospital's art department GO Create! commissioned Sandrine Dubois to illustrate safari animals which were placed in corridors, waiting areas and bedrooms throughout the department.
Great Ormond Street Hospital has comissioned numerous artists to specific areas of the hospital.
Go Create! aims to create a relaxing, engaging and child-friendly creativity through workshops, exhibitions and creative residencies.
Photo Credit: Ormond Street Hospital
Smith: Great Ormond Street Hospital
The Somers Clinical Research Facility (CRF) within the Great Ormond Street Hospital provides specialist day care accommodation for children and young people taking part in clinical research studies.
Smith was commissioned to create a large mural in the wall of the main reception that brings together artworks created by children who took part in workshops.
The children worked with artist Lucy Fergus to create leaf artworks and Smith created a striking design based on integrating these artworks.
Photo Credit: Ormond Street Hospital
Amy Walker: Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital
Ally Walker has been painting murals for several years throughout the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Ally works as a graphics designer during the day, and arrives at the hospital late at night to start painting the murals.
She began work at the Physicians Office Building in 2006, and has now completed more than 50 projects within the hospital, including transforming the main lobby into a tree house and the paediatric radiology waiting room into an aquarium.
In most of her murals Ally will incorporate an I Spy challenge to help entertain waiting patients.
Photo Credit: David Lassman