Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Kate Art Featured in The Christman Company: Building Healthcare Newsletter

Creating Artful Spaces (Part 2)

A Three Part Series Dedicated to Patient Care

The simple sight of custom art inspires imagination, elevates mood and triggers emotions capable of improving a person’s physical state. How we experience art is changing, and healthcare is part of the trend. For centuries art has enhanced our lives, providing a sanctuary for the most vulnerable. It is no longer an after-thought, art has become a part of how medical experiences are interpreted, making it essential in patient satisfaction and recovery.
Sparrow Health System’s new Herbert-Herman Cancer Centerproject seamlessly incorporated one-of-a-kind art installations throughout their facility to positively influence the experience of both patients and caregivers. Each piece was thoughtfully curated and designed by one of 12 artists from across Michigan. Finally, they were carefully installed to provide respite for everyone who enters the building.
Making the First Impression
Balancing the physical needs of the cancer center’s construction with consideration for the patient’s emotional and mental needs required forward-thinking practices and teamwork across many departments. One of the main considerations was the entrance to the facility and the initial first impression for patients and their families.
Upon entering the center’s sliding glass doors, your eye is immediately drawn upwards. The main lobby’s ceiling is accentuated by the installation of a complex, multi-piece glass display that integrated with fire-suppression and key support structures. The Christman Company collaborated with the artist, subcontractors and facility maintenance crews to balance critical structures with aesthetics and human experience.
A Natural Influence
Studies have supported that visual arts can reduce stress, improve the patients’ waiting experience and increase social interactions. Moreover, art displays that reflect nature are of particular importance in a healthcare setting. When observing nature-related art specifically, a significant reduction in restlessness, noise level and people staring aimlessly in the waiting room has been shown.
Most of the art adorning the common spaces of the Herbert-Herman Cancer Center emulate nature, including the reflective green tile display off the main lobby. When designing this Pewabic tile wall installation, artist Mario Lopez created a radial pattern to imitate the shape and feel of the sun. The tiles were meticulously pieced together on-site during construction to fully capture the artist’s desired outcome.
Patient Involvement
In addition to art surrounding a patient during their treatment, supporting patient participation in the creation of art can have a positive impact on their well-being. Lansing-based artist, Kate Cosgrove, did just that for the creation of her paper cut illustration. Patients were brought together during a Survivor Day event where they were able to paint water color messages or names on long scrolls of white paper. Cosgrove took their words home and ornately cut them into birds that decorate the top of Cosgrove’s finished piece.
“I was trusted with their stories and loved ones' names. When I took these words home to cut them into the birds, they felt very precious and it was an incredibly moving experience,” Cosgrove explained. “Spending time with the caregivers, families and survivors has left a mark on my heart and I still think about them often. It was an honor to work on this art piece.”
The interactive aspect of patients creating something together has proven to reduce anxiety levels and the sheer enjoyment that participants gain from art is a powerful psychological force that helps facilitate healing.
To discuss opportunities for hospital-focused project planning and innovative solutions, like the ones described here, contact John O’Toole, Vice President, Healthcare Services.

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