Art plays a crucial role in enhancing the holistic well-being of individuals in a healthcare setting by addressing the emotional, social, and environmental aspects of care. Many hospitals, clinics, and healthcare facilities now incorporate art programs, exhibitions, and installations. Few have had the intentionality and vision of AtlantiCare. In 2005, AtlantiCare initiated its Healing Arts Program at their Mainland Campus Center for Childbirth and Emergency Department. Over 200 pieces were selected and installed by New Jersey artists. We intend to create a healing presence within our community by integrating the arts. Today, AtlantiCare exhibits and owns more than 3,000 works of art, with 95% of the collection from New Jersey-based artists.
Selecting art for a hospital involves a thoughtful and collaborative process that considers various factors to create a healing and supportive environment. Since the beginning of the program, a dedicated Healing Arts Committee, established by the AtlantiCare Foundation, comprised of hospital administrators, healthcare professionals, community members, and leaders from art organizations, have collaborated to select the works based on space requirements. It requires a balance between aesthetics, functionality, and the intended therapeutic impact on patients and healthcare providers. “AtlantiCare does a beautiful job coordinating and organizing their collection, with attention to the finest details. It is an honor to be a part of their philanthropic mission to uplift the community,” says Cape May County artist Linette Childs.
The committee’s primary goal is to choose art that contributes to the healing environment. Art that evokes positive emotions provides comfort, reduces stress, and provides space for reflection. Themes of nature, hope, and resilience are commonly chosen. AtlantiCare achieves this goal by incorporating a variety of art forms, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations. The diversity of art forms caters to different preferences and engages a broader audience. Additionally, the work selected must be diverse. Considering the patients' and staff's cultural backgrounds and priorities is essential. Art that reflects the local community's cultural diversity enhances a sense of inclusivity.
At AtlantiCare, they are mindful that it takes more than medicine to create a healthy community.
“The Healing Arts program recognizes the role of the arts in creating beauty and serenity within a health care setting. Studies show that clinical outcomes can be enhanced by incorporating the arts into the clinical environment. We strive to create relaxing, beautiful spaces for our patients, visitors, and staff,” says Cheryl Broschard, Manager, Foundation Operations, AtlantiCare.
It's been over a year since AtlantiCare held the ribbon cutting for its new Medical Arts Pavilion on Ohio Ave in Atlantic City. The $38.3 million facility was developed to enhance access to quality care for the Atlantic City community. Ventnor Heights artist Sarah Smrcina has multiple paintings displayed in the AtlantiCare Medical Complex off Ohio Ave in Atlantic City. “As an artist, creating work is healing and meditative, while from the viewer's perspective, can be therapeutic.” Sarah knows that art in a medical facility helps build a calm, safe, and imaginative environment, when many people may have heightened nerves or emotions. Absecon artist Leon Wescoat, born and raised in Atlantic City, is “hopeful that my pieces bring even a sliver of joy to those going through a rough time. May it bring them peace and comfort.”
On the horizon, AtlantiCare’s transformational strategy will be renovating its current spaces to allow growth, improve access, increase inpatient capacity, and maximize clinical efficiencies. It’s incredibly satisfying to place artwork in the high-tech clinical environment – “it’s the icing on the cake,” says Cheryl. AtlantiCare’s Healing Art program transforms what is supposed to be a clinical and sterile environment into a landscape full of inspiration, hope, and beauty. It’s magical and serene, and not what you expect when you walk into a hospital, an urgent care facility, or a cancer center.
To read more about AtlantiCare’s Healing Arts: Bringing the Arts Alive, visit https://www.atlanticare.org/for-our-community/programs/healing-arts/