Designing Art Programs for Multi-Site Health Systems


Designing Art Programs for Multi-Site Health Systems

How do you create a hospital art program and then continue to build on that program in other areas of the facility or other sites within a healthcare system? That’s the million dollar question in our industry these days. Hospitals and health systems have moved beyond the need for understanding the value of healthcare appropriate art. They’ve fully embraced the “WHY?” The pressing question now is “HOW?”

  • How do you take what you develop at one location and introduce it to another facility without creating repetition?
  • How do you plan ahead for projects that may outlast many of the team members around the table?
  • How do you establish unique identities at multiple locations while maintaining visual continuity throughout the system?

At Distinctive Art Source, many of our clients are multi-site health systems who face these same challenges. Not every hospital begins a project knowing that the art program will eventually expand to another location. But inevitably, the success of the art program creates a demand for similar programs elsewhere in the system. In order to prepare for future expansion we suggest that you begin with the idea of expansion in mind – even if you don’t fully define the specifics of future sites.

Three Strategies for Designing Art Programs for Multi-Site Health Systems

1. Establish a vision and goals for the art program. These guiding principles serve as design directives allowing you to continue the growth of the art program in a scalable and replicable format. Need help defining your art program vision? Download this free whitepaper from DAS on “Defining Your Vision: 12 Questions to Consider when Creating a Healthcare Art Program.”

2. Define your community. Hospitals have multiple communities – internal and external communities, those with geographic boundaries and others with specific roles to play. When creating an art program, consider all communities you may want to include, involve or represent – even if you don’t know how. These may include staff members, physicians, patients, family members, volunteers, residents, school systems, City departments, political and government leaders, arts organizations, local businesses, local media, community groups, sports organizations and more. Some groups may be a natural fit for the art program at one location while other communities may encompass the entire health system and therefore be represented at multiple locations. Facility-specific groups will enable you to personalize the art experience at one location. And a community partner that expands the boundaries of a single facility will help ensure continuity and collaboration as the program expands.

3. Develop policies. The success of any art program relies on the ability to follow agreed-upon policies and procedures to ensure consistency despite time lapses and staff turnover between projects. At Distinctive Art Source, we encourage our clients to develop clearly defined policies and procedures for maintaining the art program and avoiding visual clutter  long after our engagement. These policies should address image acceptance parameters, job descriptions, hardware maintenance and repair, budgeting for artwork, contacting artists, nurse leader role, retrofitting art into existing space, etc. The additional benefit of creating policies and procedures for an art program is that the program is officially endorsed and supported by hospital administration.

For more information on how to design art programs for your multi-site healthcare system, please contact us at info@distinctiveartsource.