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Flowers in an art display

Art in the new Stanford Hospital designed with patients, families and staff in mind

The latest issue of Stanford Medicine magazine celebrates the new Stanford Hospital, which includes more than 400 works of art.

Each time I step foot into the new Stanford Hospital, I catch myself pausing to say "wow."

From the light that greets you as you look up at the glass dome, to the colorful art displayed on each floor, you forget that you're walking into a hospital -- and maybe that's the point. Hospitals have traditionally been thought of as sterile and frightening places. The new Stanford Hospital was designed to be the exact opposite -- warm and welcoming.

Painting in the new Stanford Hospital
Two master painters and two Stanford students painted this mural -- Wall Drawing #911 -- based on a diagram by artist Sol LeWitt. (Photo by Timothy Archibald)

A story in the latest issue of Stanford Medicine magazine focuses on the emphasis on wellness and healing, as seen through the 400-plus works of art in the hospital. (Note: My personal favorite can be found on the third floor -- Jennifer Steinkamp's Diaspora, shown above, a mesmerizing digital installation featuring wildflowers found here on campus).

Connie Wolf, consulting director of the art program for the new hospital, was tasked with creating an environment that recognized the vital role art and nature play in healing and well-being for all -- patients, families, and staff.

How can we create an environment that supports the patients' healing and well-being, provides comfort to their families, and offers relief to the complex and challenging work of the staff?


Integrating art into the hospital environment allows us to think holistically about the healing of the mind, the soul and the spirit.

Painting in the new Stanford Hospital
Artist Jinnie Seo painted each brushstroke of her Rays of Hope mural free form. (Photo by Timothy Archibald)

Aside from the art inside, a lot of thought was also put into the natural environment outside. Access to nature is a key factor in reducing patient and staff stress and the new hospital is surrounded by four acres of green space, five interconnected rooftop gardens, and an orchard featuring six varietals of fruit, nut and flowering trees.

"There's such a commitment at Stanford to recognizing that art and nature are part of the healing process," Wolf said. "We want people to walk in, feel welcome and know they are in a place where their health and spirit matter."

Diaspora, by Jennifer Steinkamp, is shown courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong and Seoul

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