Articles of Art Therapy

Study on Autism:

Exploring artwork preferences with autistic people  read article


Studies linking art to better health and wellbeing

Professor Samir Zeki is a prominent professor at the Institute of Neuroesthetics atUniverspaisaje_043_1_optity College London. He recently demonstrated that looking at art stimulates the brain in a way that makes people feel good: watch the video


Researchers in Norway have studied the association of cultural activities with health, anxiety and depression. The results, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, support the hypotheses on the effect of cultural activities in health promotion: read article

Studies by Professor Roger Ulrich

Professor Roger Ulrich, a Professor of Health Facilities Design at Texas A&M University (TAMU), is a very influential researcher in the field of design and health. The scientific rigor of his studies has been widely acknowledged, and his findings have been implemented by many healthcare managers, architects and policy makers in the United States. More specifically he co-wrote a study in 2004 which found over 700 peer-reviewed research studies demonstrating the beneficial impact of the environment on health outcomes. Many of these also showed economic savings as part of the benefits art can provide.

If there is one universal truth about hospitals, it is that they are drab, dismal places, not at all designed to soothe and heal… But a few architects and designers are working to change hospitals by humanizing their design, a concept that is slowly gaining influence in Europe and the United States. The idea is obvious: Build inviting, soothing hospitals, graced with soft lighting, inspiring views, curved corridors, relaxing gardens and lots of art, and patients will heal quicker, nurses will remain loyal to their employers and doctors will perform better. The environment of a hospital contributes to the therapy of the patients. People are mentally vulnerable when they come in and if they are beaten down by an awful, dreadful, concrete, uninteresting, poor building with poor colors, it makes them even worse. “Desigdiptico_C0015_optn as part of health care,” International Herald Tribune, September 2004

Research shows that even little touches can have a substantial impact. Patients, for example, feel and do better if the hospital offers pleasant distractions such as soothing artwork on the walls…“Healthy Design” Lancet, July 31, 2004

Patients with nature images have less anxiety and require fewer strong pain medication doses. However, too much stimulation will have the negative impact of raising anxiety levels. Abstract art may contribute to less favorable recovery outcomes than viewing no pictures at all and is consistently disliked by patients. All visual art (paintings, prints, photographs) displayed in patient areas should have unambiguously positive subject matter and convey a sense of security or safety. When selecting art for stressed patients, Ulrich suggests the following characteristics should be avoided: ambiguity or uncertainty; emotionally negative or provocative subject matter; surreal qualities; closely spaced repeating edges; forms that are optically unstable or appear to move; restricted depth or claustrophobic-like qualities; close-up animals staring directly at the viewer; and outdoor scenes with overcast or foreboding weather. Most pictures selected should depict landscapes during warmer seasons when vegetation is verdant and flowers may be visible; avoid landscapes conveying bleakness; include scenes with positive cultural artifacts, such as barns and older house, and garden scenes with some openness in the immediate foreground. “Healing Spaces: Elements of Environmental Design That Make an Impact on Health”, by M. Scheitzer, L. Gilpin, and S. Frampton. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2004

NBC NEWS article on the trend in hospital art today

We think that art does heal and that our artists do have a place in healthcare facilities! “The Healing Power of Art: Can Hospital Collections Help?” NBC NEWS, September 2014 read article

Beyond traditional treatment: Establishing art as therapy

by Elaine Poggi, Healthcare Design Magazine, November 200

color_009_4 x 1_optJust 20 years ago hospitals looked verydifferent. They were sterile environments focused on promoting cure rather than fostering care. In the last two decades, hospitals have transformed and become “Health-Care” environments in the truest sense, where the role of t

he environment on healing has been investigated, appreciated and enhanced. Within this changing climate, the role of art has been significant. Art has been used to enhance the quality of care by
positively impacting patient, staff and family perceptions. Today, almost every hospital invests in art programs, because we now have research to show that not only can Art improve the image of the hospital, but it can, in fact, aid in healing: read article