Healthy hospital movement Trends

Bringing the Arts into your Hospital

Picture 9One important element (and trend) involved in creating healing environments is the integration of the arts into facilities and programming. Last night I attended an art show and reception at Duke University Medical Center. The show was part of Duke’s Health Arts Network at Duke (H.A.N.D.) and celebrated submissions to the 31st Annual Duke Employee Art Show. The event I attended was held in the Duke Eye Center, and featured the creations of the children of Duke employees. A particular 11-year old aspiring artist from my household won second place in the youth category. It was a cool event, but the more important point is the way Duke integrates art into it’s clinical environments. The HAND program includes an Artists in Residence program that brings professional performers to the bedside and makes them accessible to family, visitors and staff. These artists also perform in the lobbies of various buildings within the medical complex. Here’s the link to visit the performing arts page of the HAND website: (Check out the list of “Arts in Healthcare” resources listed later in this post.)

HAND ProgramAccording to their literature, “the mission of the HAND program is to integrate arts and humanities into the life of the Medical Center, to provide comfort, solace and healing to people who suffer and those who care for them.”  There is also an entire visual arts program within the HAND initiative at Duke. They maintain and exhibit inventory of over 2000 original artworks, almost entirely by North Carolina artists, including drawings, paintings, photographs, pottery, prints, sculpture and weavings throughout the Medical Center. Duke Medicine partners with state agencies, community organizations, local arts associations, artists groups and co-ops to bring arts resources of North Carolina into the hospital. This is really an incredible and far reaching program that also extends to include the literary arts.

On the HAND website, Kevin Sowers, the CEO of Duke University Hospital is quoted regarding the importance of integrating art into the healthcare setting:

“Integration of the arts in medicine is incredibly important in the lives of our patients, families and staff. The arts create meaning to the journey that they’re on while they’re in the hospital.

As we think to the future of the delivery of healthcare, more and more, we will be faced with the challenges of further understanding the mind, body and spirit connection. The arts draw on all three pieces: the mind, the body and the spirit. I believe advancement of our understanding of psycho-neuroimmunology and the impact and influence of the arts on healing and well-being will be an important component of the future of the delivery of healthcare.”

For more information about the HAND program, go to Although many hospitals and medical centers have ventured into this realm, this is a particularly rich program worth emulating.

If you’d like to research other hospital art programs, I’ve provided some links below:

Healthcare Fine Art – An article/post on how to start a hospital fine arts program.

Society for Arts in Healthcare – This is a post about the Society for Arts in Healthcare.

How to Sell a Hospital Fine Arts Program – Interesting post with details about how to sell a hospital fine arts program.

Arts in Medicine Program, Shands Hospital, Gainesville, Florida (

Bethesda Hospital Healing Arts Program

The Foundation for Hospital Art

Stanford Hospital and Clinic’s  Arts for Healing Program ( Here’s the link directly to the arts program on Stanford’s website:

Rx Art – a non-profit organization that is committed to fostering artistic expression and awareness through the challenging yet rewarding task of engaging patients through contemporary art in healthcare facilities. Installations have included Children’s Hospital Boston, Beth Israel Medical Center, Mount Sinai Hospital – New York and many more.

Arts Empowerment: Arts in Hospital and Therapeutic Settings –

Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer

2 comments on “Bringing the Arts into your Hospital

  1. Les:
    Ten years ago, I started developing new ideas to improve patient care. After a lapse of several years, I have resumed work on the ideas. For several months now, I have been searching for someone to help me develop the ideas clinically. The “Silence is Deafening” as well as disheartening.
    I am hoping that perhaps you may be willing to help the project. The project Blog is ”
    The “KID’S CLUB’ unit you will see in the photos is available for donation.
    Thanks, Duane Wyatt

  2. Pingback: Creating Healing Environments | The Healthcare Marketer

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