B.C. Lions Gate Hospital Foundation is celebrating the installation of its 500th piece of donated artwork through its Healing Power of Art program. Not only does the initiative improve the therapeutic environment of the hospital, it has created a unique showcase for artists from across British Columbia.
B.C. artist Gordon Smith provided the first donation – ‘Lighthouse Park, a seragraph with acrylic’ – in 2012. Since his original donation, the collection has grown to 500 pieces valued at $1.4 million.
Some, like Emily Carr’s ‘Wind in the Woods’, are donated by private collectors, or individuals who may be downsizing. Many others, like Lighthouse Park, are donated by the artists themselves.
The project was initiated in 2012 during the construction of Greta and Robert H. N Ho Psychiatry and Education Centre (The HOpe Centre).
“The whole design of the building was intended to help destigmatize mental health issues,” explains Joanne McLellan, the Foundation’s Director of Gift Planning. “It was designed to look less institutional and populating the building with art was part of the plan,” she says.
Since its inception, the collection has grown into a major undertaking, and has its own volunteer curator, local artist and member of North Shore Artists’ Guild Edith Warner.
“We get such great comments and people who have been coming here for a long time comment about how wonderful it has grown and what a difference it makes to the hospital environment. Anytime I stop and talk to people in the hallways they can’t say enough good things about it. This is a really wonderful program and there is no doubt that art has a healing power.”
“The program would not be possible without the generosity of hundreds of collectors and artists, including members of the North Shore Artists’ Guild. The donations from local artists have been just wonderful and they’re so generous with the work that they donate. They are very pleased to be part of our collection and supporting this important program.”
The 500th painting, ‘Stormy Weather, Georgia Street’, by North Vancouver artist Marcus Bowcott, will be installed at LGH.
Donated artworks are on display at LGH, North Shore Hospice, The HOpe Centre, Evergreen House and the community health centres in North and West Vancouver. The Foundation is now working on a collection to be housed in the state-of-the-art Medical & Surgical Centre which is slated to open in 2023.