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Wednesday 26th October 2016

The therapeutic value of art

19th October 2007

Art in hospitals and other healthcare units is today becoming far more than mere decoration.


A growing number of hospitals and hospices are realising the therapeutic value of art in such settings and carefully selecting pieces that will complement a room and its use.

For fine artist Rebecca Cresswell, who started a new career as a public health artist last year, it is bringing fame and fortune.

She has landed several prestigious commissions for healthcare facilities. Some are in new buildings, others have been refurbished but already nine of her original paintings will go on permanent display in London, Hastings, Bromsgrove, South Shields and Wolverhampton in coming months.

The Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley, Kent, recognised the value of visual art and commissioned pieces called "nurture and nature" for its maternity department.

Two of Rebecca's paintings feature in the SANDS room, after the charity Stillborn and Neonatal Death Society which supports bereaved parents and families when a baby has died.

"The Orchard" (pictured) symbolises rebirth and growth while "The Corn Meadow" was adapted for the room's window dressing and printed in a mosaic effect.

The hospital's arts coordinator Josie Aston said: "Staff on the Bromley unit liked Rebecca's vibrant and interesting work and felt that the themes she works with would add a spiritual dimension to the room, while keeping it a place that welcomes women and their partners from all backgrounds and cultures."

Other works include the images inspired by patients' favourite recollections to be installed in lounges in the Compton Hospice, Wolverhampton, along with a panoramic panel depicting Paddington canal basin for at St Mary's Hospital, London.

Rebecca, who is 28 and lives in Wolverhampton, said: "St Mary's has a fantastic grasp on the therapeutic value of art in the healing environment and has quite an extensive collection."


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