Art for healthcare

Here I am again tricking out another dental clinic!  I love thinking of the blissful journey patients will take as their eyes are filled with sweeping photographic landscapes of our great Northwest—soothing artwork.

Dental Care Today provides dental services for both adults and children. They’ve just bought a large property for a new clinic in Hillsboro. They’ve gone with local, self-taught, photographer, Alan Leahy who captures epic scenery around Oregon and Washington.

There are over 50 pieces to be picked and hung in the space of various sizes, including some focal pieces on acrylic at the entry points. Pero Design is choosing lots of blue skin and images with good depth to help patients keep their minds engaged while the dentists make their teeth shine.

For the pediatric wing, fun pictures of exotic animals and their funky teeth should give a good giggle and help spark conversation over proper dental care. Here’s the blank canvas of the art consultant!


Pero Design had another chance to work with the visionary commercial interior designer,Kirsta Pettis of Sisu Design Group for this new NoPo location of World of Smiles Pediatric Dentist.

World of Smiles wanted a space geared toward their primary patients: kids. But, they wanted it to be interesting enough and stylish enough for the accompanying adults, too. Krista is not afraid to use color in her designs and came up with this sort-of “subway” line design concept that helps navigate the open structure of work space in the clinic. Suspended panels were to further privatize some areas of the open space.

We were challenged with finding a combo of color and art to coordinate with the fun floor pattern. Suspending acrylic panels can be problematic. If you add art or other elements and want them to be an effective size, they get very heavy, very quickly. Our solution was to make the panels smaller and surround them with a lighter product.

Enter acoustical felt. I’ve been wanting a chance to use the densely colorful Filz Felt on a project and World of Smiles was perfect. The felt increases the panel size and lightens the load as well as provides excellent sound absorption for the busy clinic, while still maintaining an open feeling. The strong colors also act as a de facto frame for the artwork. The art is mounted behind the clear acrylic in this case. This combo of felt and acrylic panels would work great for any open office or clinic space. Artwork can be mounted under the acrylic or the acrylic itself can be printed with pattern and texture.

Congratulations to World of Smiles on North Albina! World of Smiles opens to patients on Monday, August 10.

There has been a fair amount of research done on the effect of art on patients as a visual experience and as a hands-on experience in the form of art therapy.

As an art consultant, I do a lot of medical clinics — from pediatrics, to oncology, to mental health, to hospitals and basic family practices. There is a science-based reason for why you see so much nature and florals on the walls of doctor’s offices. Authors Roger Ulrich and Laura Gilpin explored this topic thoroughly in their study and subsequent publication “Healing Arts: Nutrition for the Soul.” Combining scientific research and anecdotal field work, they developed art selection guidelines widely used for the healthcare industries. You can find out more about these guidelines at the Center for Health Design’s website at www.healthdesign.org/chd/research/guide-evidence-based-art but the essence is that depictions of nature are calming and provoke feelings of peace and well-being in us.

The Cleveland Clinic’s own studies on patient experience with art in hospitals and clinics went further to suggest that the art should not call attention to the patient’s suffering, but rather help them to feel comfortable and soothed. In my own work, there are some obvious choices to be made for certain clinics, and some not-so-obvious things to consider and avoid. The simplest approach is often the best, and for pediatric facilities, art full of color and playfulness make the most sense. The more quirky and active, the better for helping to distract kids from whatever has brought them to the doctor, or dentist, in the first place. People who must return again and again to a clinic because of chronic suffering benefit from relaxing and soothing images that create a positive “escape” or dreamland (here comes the nature part) but consideration should be made to rotating artwork because of the repetitive nature of these visits.

I would point out Providence Cancer Center as a top example of floral and landscape choice. Photographs of aspirational imagery, e.g. emotionally positive examples of humans being active perhaps despite physical imitations are a good choice for physical therapy centers. Before and after pictures of actual patients can be artfully displayed under certain circumstances like medical spas and orthodontists.

One area that is often overlooked during planning is the exam rooms. A patient may feel relaxed in your beautifully outfitted waiting room, but if your exam room is full of medical diagrams and pictures of ailments provided by the pharmaceutical company, I would hazard a guess that heart rates are going to rise again while they wait for the doc. Take into consideration what brought your patient to the clinic to begin with, and be sensitive to their complete journey from waiting room to exam room to check-out. Some “no-nos” I have seen include too much red in a cardiovascular clinic, pictures of babies and children in a reproductive medicine office, and posters of childhood diseases in a pediatrician’s exam rooms. It’s great to think outside the box — after all, who wants to see another X-ray image of a floral? Your art consultant has the experience and research to help you identify the best fit for your clinic and your patient.

The patient experience begins when they walk in your office door. Art chosen to suit and brighten your reception area will provide attractive and calming spaces for patients to relax and gather their thoughts before their health care visit.

Jonathan Nourok's photographs of flowers and leaves are filled with bold colors and evocative shapes that are both familiar and wondrous. His images provide space for the eyes and mind to wander. Whether the appointment is routine or emergent, Jonathan Nourok's close up floral-scapes will transform your reception or patient rooms into cheerful and calming spaces.

Whatever the color story or visual style that best suits your practice, the artist can accommodate. Prioritize your patient experience with detailed and dynamite artwork from one of the West Coast's best!

The patient experience begins when they walk in your office door. Art chosen to suit and brighten your reception area will provide attractive and calming spaces for patients to relax and gather their thoughts before their health care visit.

Jonathan Nourok’s photographs of flowers and leaves are filled with bold colors and evocative shapes that are both familiar and wondrous. His images provide space for the eyes and mind to wander.

Whether the appointment is routine or emergent, Jonathan Nourok’s close up floral-scapes will transform your reception or patient rooms into cheerful and calming spaces. Whatever the color story or visual style that best suits your practice, the artist can accommodate.

Poppy Flax Triptych by onathan Nourok

Poppy Flax Triptych by onathan Nourok

Prioritize your patient experience with detailed and dynamite artwork from one of the West Coast’s best! [/vc_column]

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Allan Leahy is a local photographer, and this dental clinic has his work throughout. We start here in the lobby. The printer we used for this piece did a salon mount on the back side of acrylic with stainless stand offs. The stand offs were chosen as it worked really well with the finishes the client and designer selected.

In the surgery center, which was not complete when we took these photos, we presented the photos on acrylic without a frame. The cleat we installed them with raised them off the wall about 1/2″. The pieces are secure on the wall, and create a window like feel.

December 2012

A Portland sleep lab was getting a little, much needed, make over. A little money was left over at year end that allowed for some new things like, furniture, and best of all ART on the walls! It was a very last minute project, but we pulled together art, framing and installation seamlessly. There are still a few more rooms that will get done in mid 2013.

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January 2013

This medical clinic was brand new in 2012, and after “living” in it for a few months we selected some art that added color, and was pretty unique. We worked with the budget and decided to have prints on canvas with a gallery wrap treatment. We installed these with security hardware so the art wouldn’t shift when the hallway gets used.

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