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Arts & Culture

University Health System Introduces Art To Help Heal

If you’ve been to a pair of local medical facilities recently, you might be surprised by the art you see there.
The concept is called "healing arts." I spoke to Mark Webb, a senior vice president with University Health System to find out how it works.

"There is science and data behind arts and the healing process," Webb said. “How it reduces anxiety of patients and how it speeds with the healing process because it’s calming.”

The Sky Tower and Robert B. Green campus, the two new buildings of the University Health System, have been filled with art to help people feel better and heal quicker. Webb elaborated the different aspects of the program.

"There are three pieces to the program. There’s design enhancement," he said, where artists work with architects to choose colors and textures that people like. "And the second piece is where we had site-specific works."

"We got artists from all over the world," Webb said.

The approval process required that artists create mock-up proposals for works within each specific space. 

"The majority of art in both spaces is from local artists," Webb said.

The more than $7 million in art seems to have made a huge difference.

"The spaces are beautiful, but when you add the art to it, it takes on a whole new dimension," Webb said.

I noted that by his description, the art seemed to have worked on him, too.

"Oh absolutely!" he said.

He also talked about an Ansen Seale light installation that is triggered by movement.

“You are activating the space as you walk in," Webb said. "There’s sound that goes with it.”