Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre volunteer co-ordinator Erin Poissant

The art of happy healing

Central Alberta hospitals are adding local art to their walls to lift the spirits of patients, visitors and staff. Plexiglass display cases filled with art by local students and artists are now jazzing up hallway walls at hospitals in Red Deer, Ponoka, Rocky Mountain House, Rimbey, Bentley, Stettler, and Lacombe. Art will be changed every six weeks.

Central Alberta hospitals are adding local art to their walls to lift the spirits of patients, visitors and staff.

Plexiglass display cases filled with art by local students and artists are now jazzing up hallway walls at hospitals in Red Deer, Ponoka, Rocky Mountain House, Rimbey, Bentley, Stettler, and Lacombe.

Art will be changed every six weeks.

The art project, called Creative Connections, is run by volunteer resources departments with Alberta Health Services Central Zone. It started in Red Deer in 2006 and was funded by Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.

Until this year, displays were only on the main floor of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. This summer, they were added to the second and third floors.

The foundation spent $21,000 to upgrade main floor displays this year and added a total of 10 display cases to the second and third floors.

Flat display cases for paintings and drawings can be found on the main floor across from the old east entrance. On the second floor, flat displays hang across from the meditation garden, outside unit 22. Similar cases are outside unit 35 on the third floor.

Display cases that hold three-dimensional art are located near the third floor main elevators.

Encana donated over $5,000 to expand the project to the other Central Alberta hospitals. Nine display cases went up this summer.

“We’ve already received such positive comments from the rural sites. It’s been amazing,” said Lynn Gray, manager for volunteer resources with AHS Central Zone.

Gray said there has been art in rural hospitals before. But the new displays provide more permanent opportunities to connect with local students and artists.

Colourful and creative art can certainly play a role in patient care and well-being, she said.

“It’s just going to add some cheerfulness to our facilities and hopefully it helps our patients heal.”

Schools and organizations that wish to be part of Creative Connections can contact their local hospital’s volunteer resources department.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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