How long have you been with Paintings in Hospitals? What is your role in your own words?

I started in November 2018, so it’s coming up three years! I’m National Loans Coordinator. I consider myself the project manager of the delivery of loans. I make sure everyone is talking to each other, that the artworks have been prepped in time, make sure the contracts are signed, and that all of Janet and Dominic’s (our Relationship & Development Managers) conversations with the care partners have been taken on board and passed on to whoever in the team needs that information, and I arrange the delivery and installation of the artworks themselves. On top of that, I manage the database system.

How would you describe what the charity does?

Paintings in Hospitals aims to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of both patients and staff in healthcare environments in a wide range of settings, not just in hospitals but anywhere to do with health. It could be a research office for people training in medicine or an SEN school, we work anywhere that can help improve people’s lives.

What do you think is the most important thing that Paintings in Hospitals does?

In my opinion, it’s improving the clinical atmosphere of care sites: being able to take people away from the dreary and stressful environments they find themselves in.

These spaces can bring possibly horrible feelings for some when they go there, because it will make them anxious, it will remind them of being ill... By bringing artwork to them, you’re taking them away from that. You’re making them think of other times, better times.

Why do you work for Paintings in Hospitals?

It’s quite interesting actually. Most people on the team have a very personal reason for working for Paintings in Hospitals, maybe one of their siblings or parents regularly goes to hospital and they’ve had a first-hand experience of our work from that side of things. I personally, luckily, haven’t had that experience, but I always came across Paintings in Hospitals through job adverts. It really resonated with me. The art world can often come across as inaccessible and elitist, and that’s just not who I am; Paintings in Hospitals helps break down those barriers and improve accessibility.

I’ve always thought that artwork should be for everyone. That’s why I wanted to work for Paintings in Hospitals.

What do you like most about working at Paintings in Hospitals?

There are two things. Improving other people’s lives, making where they’re living or being cared for a nicer environment, that can make a world of difference. When you get feedback from people once the artwork is installed it’s the most heart-warming thing. Some say they’ve never seen museum quality artwork before, because perhaps they never felt that they could go to a museum, they didn’t think it was for them, or maybe they’re being prevented from being able to go out to a museum because they can’t leave where they’re being cared for. We bring the artwork to them. I think it’s brilliant. The second thing has been working with the team. The team is so, so lovely. I’m going to miss them.

What is your favourite piece in the collection?

It’s not very well known. It’s called Brilliant Zone and the artist is Tetsuro Sawada. I like it because it’s very different to our usual artworks. It’s a fantastically bright and abstracted sunset that reminds me of being on holiday! I love it.

Tetsurô Sawada, Brilliant Zone, 1987. Part of the Paintings in Hospitals collection.