Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baltimore's Art-Enriched Medical Facility

The center has a calming presence and creates a healing 
environment for all the families that pass through these doors, 
the expert medical professionals who work here, 
and for the Hopkins and Baltimore community.
~ Michael R. Bloomberg

I was delighted to learn recently that more than 500 installations by 70 artists grace the newly opened Johns Hopkins Hospital building, The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center and The Sheikh Zayed Tower, the former named for the late mother of New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael R. Bloomberg and the latter for the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, founder and first president of the United Arab Emirates. The huge number of artworks in the state-of-the-art facility in Baltimore, Maryland, is a testament to increased understanding and anecdotal evidence of how art can help heal.

In a unique collaboration, a team from Johns Hopkins that included administrators, medical professionals, and an archivist, a team from Perkins + Will architectural firm, consulting architect Allen Kolkowitz, Olin Studio landscape architects,  curator Nancy Rosen, and artists from across the country worked together to achieve the express goal of creating an environment where young patients would enjoy "a humane and dignified experience" while receiving care at the hospital. 

Some highlights of the project are:

Spencer Finch's Monet-inspired shimmering curtain wall of glass and steel. Enveloping nearly all of the building's exterior, Finch's 250,000-square-foot wall transforms the hospital's facade  at night. Images

✭ Set designer Robert Israel's 11 "super-sized" sculptures, including a 22-foot-high ostrich and egg, a giant puffer fish, a flying cow with 9-foot wingspan, a rhino with a baby on its back, and a ring of 28 phases of the moon. Images 

✭ Jim Boyd's window shades that feature local landmarks, including Camden Yards and the Bromo-Seltzer tower, or depict childhood objects, such as flash cards, identified in more than 30 languages. Boyd took his inspiration from Baltimore's well-known painted screen doors on row houses. Image

✭ Ceramic sculptures, collages, photographic prints, watercolors, and paintings that celebrate more than 40 children's books, including The Phantom Tollbooth, Goodnight Moon, The Secret Garden, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Among the artists who created the more than 300 artworks are Casey Ruble (video), Rolla Herman (video), and Sylvan Lionni. Images

✭ More than 200 nature- and garden-inspired works from more than 50 artists, including Polly Apfelbaum. Images

Alphabets created by Lauren P. Adams, who worked with pediatric patients, and a tabletop by Scott Teplin (video). Images 

Also in place are colorful dioramas in walls, which serve as wayfinders, and a canopy that creates a visual clue to the hospital's public entrances.

Here are two videos, the first showcasing Spencer Finch's curtain wall and the second, Robert Israel's oversized sculptures. Additional videos are available here. Congratulations to everyone associated with this marvelous effort.


"Colors All Around", Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal, March 21, 2012

Fast Facts About The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center

Johns Hopkins Department of Art as Applied to Medicine

Also Of Interest

"Art as Medicine", Studio 360, Episode 1150, December 10, 2010

"Can Art Be Medicine?", Art Therapy Blog


A Simple Country Girl said...

Wow, miss Maureen, this is a wonderful tribute. I have to wait on some of the larger links and videos until the weather clears a bit because the satellite connection is fussy that way.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time in a children's hospital in Portland, Oregon just prior to and after my son's birth. The calming presence of wonderful art does so much to ease anxiety. They had a couple statues there, but nothing like this.

Thanks for all you put into this post.


Anonymous said...

a wonderful collaboration

Ruth said...

That curtain wall is fantastic. It looks different every time it's shown in the video. I really loved hearing the artist Spencer Finch talk about it. I'm quite inspired.