The Benefits of Local Art in Healthcare Facilities

How to choose art for healthcare settings

The world is full of many wonders, and there is no denying that a stunning image from a far away land can provide the uplifting positive distraction that is so beneficial to patients in recovery.

And yet, there is a growing trend to seek out local imagery when choosing art for healthcare environments. There are some good reasons to keep it local, but choosing the best art for your clinic space isn’t quite as simple as finding any artist from your home town.

Let’s take a closer look at what to consider.

Tumalo Falls, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.

Sunset at the beach, Chacala, Mexico

Familiarity is comforting

One reason to choose local imagery is that people generally find familiar things to be comforting.

This becomes particularly important for patients who have long-term hospital stays. When you are unexpectedly taken away from your life, and your normal routines are completely disrupted, anything that brings familiarity to your new circumstances will help to relieve the stress of the situation.

A word of caution

In addition to bringing in familiar imagery, it’s also great to choose local artists because it can strengthen the connection between a community and its healthcare providers.

Be careful, though, not to choose art purely because it is local. There are many considerations in choosing appropriate art for healthcare settings that should not be ignored, and it is extremely important to choose healthcare-appropriate imagery, whether local or otherwise.

As one example, suppose you are building a hospital in Alaska and you want to bring in local photography for the patient rooms. Even though grizzly bears are an impressive example of Alaskan wildlife, you would do well not to ignore the research showing that images of large or dangerous animals tend to increase anxiety, which is counter-productive to healing. Whether local or not, be sure that your images align with evidence-based art research.

How to get healthcare-appropriate local images

If you want local imagery and you also want to make sure you are getting images that are appropriate for healthcare settings, there are a few things you can do.

The first one, which I recommend anyway, is to make sure you are working with an interior designer who is familiar with evidence-based art. (If you can’t find one in your area, I highly recommend reaching out to Cheryl Janis - she is able to work remotely, and is a fantastic resource for all things healthcare design.)

The next thing you can do is work with an artist like myself who knows how to capture and curate images that are appropriate for healthcare facilities. And the great news is that I now offer a service where I will capture beautiful, healthcare-appropriate images from any region in the world at no extra cost for clients who pre-purchases a quantity of art from me. In other words, you can buy art from me before I have even created it, and you get to specify the region you’d like me to photograph!

The minimum purchase varies by location, but it’s worth inquiring if you plan to spend at least $10,000 on artwork. Please contact me for details.

Looking up at the sky through palm trees on Maui, Hawaii.