In this series, we’re exploring all the ways in which art can contribute to our health, wellbeing and quality of life. The majority of Britain’s most exceptional art is stored and shown in purpose-built spaces like museums and galleries. But what if you’re too ill, immobile, or intimidated to visit these spaces?

At Paintings in Hospitals, we believe that great art should be accessible to everyone. That includes everyone who is unable or unwilling, for whatever reason, to visit a museum or gallery.

We're dedicated to bringing art to people through our own artwork loans and creative activities because we know that everyone can benefit from it. We do this in spaces that everyone uses at some point in their lives: GP surgeries, health centres, dental surgeries, hospitals, hospices, care homes, and more. But we also work with national museums, galleries and collections to bring their artworks out into the world.

Marc Quinn, Garden² (no.7), 2000. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © Marc Quinn

This week marks the launch of our new hospital touring exhibition: Rooted in the Landscape. The exhibition is a collaboration with the Arts Council Collection and features works by renowned contemporary artists such as Marc Quinn, Andy Goldsworthy, and Turner Prize-nominated Janice Kerbel.

The Arts Council Collection is a national loan collection of outstanding modern and contemporary British art. Paintings in Hospitals is the Arts Council Collection’s healthcare partner and we have been working together since 1976!

Working with Paintings in Hospitals helps us to bring art to the public to enhance wellbeing and enrich people's lives.

Beth Hughes, Collections Curator at Arts Council Collection

But the Arts Council Collection aren’t the only national collection we work with. The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design. We’ve been working with them for over fifteen years. Together, we’ve co-curated seven exhibitions for health and social care sites across the country. The exhibitions have enabled patients, service users and care staff to experience world-class art, some of which had never been exhibited before.

Working with Paintings in Hospitals allows the museum to exhibit outside of a conventional space, offering important and exciting opportunities to connect with new audiences.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Over the last few years, we’ve worked with the Tate Youth Forum to build a new loan scheme for children and young people. And in 2012, we worked with the London Transport Museum and carers in Richmond to build a soundscape experience. In 2015, we collaborated with Hayward Gallery Touring to bring the art of Michael Craig-Martin (one of the most important British artists of recent times) to the patients and staff of Vassall Medical Centre and the National Spinal Injuries Centre.

Works Like People II by Tom Ellis at Paddington Green Health Centre, 2016

Not ones to rest on our laurels, in 2016, we partnered with the world-renowned Wallace Collection to commission and deliver new site-specific works by acclaimed contemporary artist Tom Ellis in four GP surgeries. The project was designed to challenge preconceptions about what art in the care environment should be. Bright, colourful, happy, simple, inoffensive, unchallenging?

It is unusual to find artwork in a GP surgery that carries an underlying, murmuring discourse of difficulty and tensions, but this is significant: it suggests that the work does not just perceive its audience to be patients but complete, wonderfully intricate, whole human beings.

Lucy Wells, Inclusive Arts Manager at Bromley by Bow Centre

We hope to continue our partnerships with museums, galleries and collections across the country. And we are always open to help others to get their collections out into truly accessible spaces.

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