Art as Healing

New, freshly painted walls of the North Wing provided an empty canvas for NorthBay Healthcare leaders to fill with vibrant, unique art selections, and touched off a decision to upgrade art throughout the hospital.

Aimee Brewer, left, and Kira Stewart selected artwork that would be cheerful and bright, to incorporate local scenery and showcase the work of Northern California artists.

“We know that art has healing qualities,” explained NorthBay Healthcare Group President Aimee Brewer. “So we teamed up with ACS (Art Consulting Services) to make decisions on a number of art pieces designed to delight, inspire and soothe our patients, visitors and staff.”

The result is 84 paintings, photographs, sculptures and other pieces of art that are highlighted throughout the main public corridors, elevator lobbies, back hallways that lead to patient rooms, consult rooms and waiting rooms and in The Shaw Family Kitchen. In addition, a number of new selections replaced older pieces that had been on the walls for more than a decade or two.

“Most people would agree the hospital is a place that can often be stressful and feel cold to patients and visitors,” explained Aimee. “There is much research that indicates art can have a positive impact on healing and can reduce stress and anxiety. We wanted to take this opportunity to curate a wonderful collection of art pieces of all different styles and mediums to connect with patients, families and our team of dedicated employees to make NorthBay a warm and welcoming environment.”

Kira Stewart, owner and principal of ACS, said art as a healing element of care was clearly a focus in the selection process.

“We definitely wanted the artwork to have a healing feeling, incorporate nature and focus on local scenery like the rolling hills, oak trees and landscapes that could be recognizable for the local community,” she said. “And we certainly wanted it to be cheerful, bright and optimistic.”

The art selections vary in size, shape and style, and come from a number of Northern California artists.

“We feel art transcends and touches people in different ways and our collection has a large variety from local landscape photography to glass pieces to a one-of-a-kind acrylic tree going into The Shaw Family Kitchen,” Aimee said. “The goal is to help our patients and visitors feel connected with the beauty of the outside world even though they’re inside a hospital.”

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