The visual arts and today’s modern health service institutions are, in many ways, a natural fit – with artworks providing important opportunities for personal enjoyment, a welcome distraction, a focal point for quiet reflection and/or thoughtful conversations amongst visitors, clients and staff. I am so happy to recently have become a part of the fantastic “Art@RVH” project, an innovative program focused on showcasing contemporary Canadian art within the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, in Barrie, Ontario !
In the past I have thoroughly enjoyed feedback received from patients, visitors and staff with regards to the acrylic paintings I had on display at the Belleville General Hospital as part of the Quinte Arts Council’s popular “Art in the Community” program. The following excerpt is just one example of the meaningful interactions which are so often the result of important programs like this – this little message, which I received a few years back, still brings tears to my eyes and fills my heart with gratitude for the privilege of pursuing a passion which can touch the lives of others in this way….(the names have been altered to protect the privacy of the family):
“My name is Mike Smith and my wife is Emily. Emily has terminal cancer and spent three weeks on Quinte 5 at the Belleville General Hospital. One day while on the 3rd floor she saw your painting entitled “Tulip Cats” and she asked me to position the wheelchair so she could study it. The next couple of days she asked me if we could visit the painting and, of course we did. I asked my daughter to make inquiries about renting your painting while Emily was in the hospital so she could enjoy it in her room. We were pleasantly surprised when we heard that you agreed to let her enjoy it at no cost to us.
This note is to express our families gratitude for your generous and compassionate gesture to Emily. The picture brightened her room immensely during her stay. She is now at home for the balance of her palliative care and I have purchased the picture and she and we are enjoying it very much.
Thank you so much for your generous heart.”
It doesn’t get much better than that.