Arts in Healthcare

Arts in Healthcare (formerly known as the Art in Hospital Project) works with health professionals in East Sussex Heathcare NHS Trust to integrate the arts into the healthcare services and environment for the therapeutic benefit of patients and staff and for the enjoyment of the wider local community.

Vitreous Enamel Wall Panel by Hazel Brook(Conquest Hospital)

Vitreous Enamel Wall Panel by Hazel Brook(Conquest Hospital)

Over the years since it started in 1988, Arts in Healthcare has established a role for the arts within healthcare buildings and services through numerous commissions, artist residences, exhibition programmes, visual and performing arts workshops with patients and staff, and the display of hundreds of artworks on loan from professional artists. Arts in Healthcare continues to grow and develop as there is an increasing awareness that access and involvement in the arts can have a positive influence in promoting discussion, interaction, health and well being.

Arts in Healthcare (originally known as the Art in Hospital Project) was established in 1988 by the former Hastings and Rother NHS Trust. Its purpose was to integrate the arts into the healthcare services and environment for the therapeutic benefit of patients and staff, making the arts more accessible to a large sector of the local community.

Since the merger with Eastbourne Hospitals NHS Trust in 2002, Arts in Healthcare operates its services across the East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

The main focus of the programme’s activities in the beginning was to commission site specific work during the construction of the Conquest Hospital. The architects of the hospital, Powell Moya Partnership, provided the initiative for a primary arts strategy which was commissioned from Lesley Greene (formerly director of the Public Arts Development Trust).

Initial funding was provided by South East Arts and the former Hastings Health Authority. Arts in Healthcare, is a registered charity. A strategy for the visual and performing arts has been developed for the health care services which, in the early days of the project, focused primarily on the Conquest Hospital but which has since been extended to the other hospitals and healthcare centres and more recently to Eastbourne District General Hospital.

The emphasis now is to develop programmes where artists collaborate with healthcare professionals to provide wider access to the arts and to help create and maintain a culture and environment from which patients, staff and visitors can benefit emotionally, physically and aesthetically.

All the activity of the Arts Project is supported by fundraising and the generosity of artists. Until April 2007, the administration costs of Arts in Healthcare were underwritten by the East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Funds.

However, as this fund diminished, all support from Charitable Funds was discontinued. Arts in Healthcare now relies purely on fundraising and sponsorship to keep going.

If you are able to contribute or for further information, please contact Arts in Healthcare: esh-tr.artsinhealthcare@nhs.net or telephone (01424) 755470 Ext: 2270.