Healing Arts program uses hospital & clinics for a gallery
Thursday, January 31, 2013
By Randy Hanson
First-time visitors to Hudson Hospital & Clinic may be surprised by the amount and quality of original artwork on display in the corridors and waiting areas.
It’s so abundant and expertly exhibited that a person might think they had wandered into a gallery, if not for the hustle and bustle of the medical facility.
The unique environment is the creation of the Healing Arts program, a collaboration of the hospital and The Phipps Center for the Arts.
Hospital President & CEO Marian Furlong is a believer in the connection between the healing process and a patient’s physical surroundings. She wanted to enhance the hospital’s healing environment by bringing in artwork.
Margaret Welshons has directed the program since 2004, working out of a shared office behind the information desk in the hospital’s main corridor.
At any given time, Welshons has 150 to 200 pieces of art by a dozen or more artists to keep track of. The paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, pottery, fabrics and more are exhibited in corridors, waiting areas, offices and patient, procedure and conference rooms.
Welshons, a former nurse, plans the exhibits, communicates with the artists, installs the art and watches over the inventory.
“I think it is important that we can relate to the people who come here, that we recognize not just our clinical needs for treating them, but their needs for healing.” Welshons said.
Stress is an impediment to healing, she said, and calming artwork reduces it.
The exhibit in a particular area is rotated every three months or so for the benefit of the hospital staff. Welshons wants the work environment to remain enriching and interesting for them.
For the public, the art provides a pleasurable experience at a place that is more often associated with negative feelings. It helps make people comfortable.
Almost all of the art pieces on display are for sale, and have the price listed on them. They can be purchased through the hospital’s gift shop or by contacting Welshons at (715) 531-6059 or Margaret.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welshons said around 50 to 60 pieces are sold in a year. More than 5,500 pieces of art have been displayed during her time as coordinator of the program.