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Why Art in Hospitals?

Our vision at RVH is to make each life better, together. To achieve our vision, we must be committed to excellence every day, and that includes our art program, Art@RVH.

Working with artists, collectors, institutions and the cultural community, RVH promotes interaction and connection with art to support holistic health.

“Our patient-centred MY CARE philosophy is the focus of everything we do, including our desire to enrich, inspire and enliven our patients, visitors, employees and community through the display of original artwork throughout our facility and grounds. Our art collection shows a commitment to supporting the national and local arts communities. The emphasis on contemporary art cultivates an environment of creative excellence, encourages dialogue and challenges viewers to experience diverse points of view.”

Janice Skot, MHSc, CHE
President and CEO

Artwork top of page – Artist: Gavin Lynch, “California”, 2019, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 72″ (cropped image)

Did you Know?

Ongoing research has shown that having art in health care settings can provide the following benefits:

  • Supports patients in their physical, mental and emotional recovery
  • Relieves anxiety and decreases the perception of pain
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Makes the health centre environment more welcoming
  • Connects the health centre to its community
  • Provides a welcome distraction for patients, staff, families and volunteers
  • Motivates patients to get out of bed and be active within the hospital

The Art Team

Wendy Sallows

Program Lead
Governance and Policy Lead

Frances Thomas, MFA

Curator and Art Collection Manager

Art@RVH Art Committee:

RVH is fortunate to have a committee of dedicated members including staff, patient advisors and arts professionals. The primary role of the Art Committee is to oversee the Art@RVH program including the review of all artwork acquisitions, donations and loans. The Art Committee supports activities that use art to enhance the quality of life at RVH.

“Nature: Guide to Recovery and Resiliency” is our most recent exhibition. We are pleased to present an exhibition from our permanent collection on the theme of nature across the seasons.

Artist: Gavin Lynch, “California”, 2019, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 72″ (cropped image)

“I think that I will never see/A poem as lovely as a tree,”  Joyce Kilmer wrote in a 1913 poem titled “Trees”. These lines reflect the common observation that it is difficult to make art that outshines nature.

And trees are prominent in this current exhibit that contains artworks by several
different Canadian artists including Anne Meredith Barry, April Hickox, Gavin Lynch,
Robert Paterson, Jill Price, Rod Prouse and The Birdbath Collaboration comprised of
Tanya Cunnington and Bewabon Shilling.

From April Hickox’s photograph of a beaver cutting found on Toronto Island, and Robert
Paterson’s snow-covered boughs, to Rod Prouse’s energetic flourishes depicting fall’s
bright colours, we are presented with the landscape, with nature as inspiration.

Aristotle wrote that the aim of art is to “represent not the outward appearance of
things, but their inward significance”. This exhibition is intended to be an invitation for
reflection on the significance of that which is not simply visual but also felt, as insight
into what is enduring and to find that within ourselves. As in nature, we can adapt to a
constantly changing environment. By working together, we can overcome considerable
disruption by collaborating in order to make improvements and recover, regardless
of the cause of that disruption. In fact, biological organisms have, over millennia,
been able to respond to significant change without planning, predicting or tying their
responses to complex threats. They are successful by adapting to solve the challenges
they continually face.

Frances Thomas, Curator

“Still Life and the Kitsch Souvenir“ is our most recent exhibition and includes original collaged prints by regional artist Timothy Laurin.

As a member of the Metis Nation, Laurin has been intrigued by the stereotypical depictions of First Nations people, specifically during the era of his upbringing which saw the proliferation of kitsch figurines. Many of these handmade ceramics were produced in post-war Japan. Aboriginal identity was trivialized in curios and knick-knacks for use as homewares and souvenirs in a rapidly expanding tourism market and interest in national symbolism. Thousands of these items are still in circulation so what are we to make of them today?

For artist Timothy Laurin these artworks are a reflection on identity and the kitsch souvenir through the genre of still-life. Still-life has long been understood to be a collection and arrangement of inanimate objects as its subject. Laurin’s subject, quite simply, is reshaping a narrative within a context of self-conscious vintage charm.

“I begin my still-lifes by selecting objects from my personal collection, creating conversations between the characters and photographing them in various scenarios. I print out these photos and begin tearing them into segments. Like the construct of memory, I re-assemble the torn bits, sometimes reconstituting the still life as originally staged, other times creating new assemblages. Once the photograph is assembled, I transfer a “ghosting” of the image onto handmade Japanese Washi paper. This is achieved by passing both the printed photograph and the Washi through an etching press. Embedding the images of these souvenirs, made by the hands of Japanese craftsmen, onto handmade Japanese paper, I am offering up a respect for the “hand-made” during a time of mass-production and mass-consumption.”
– Timothy Laurin

Timothy Laurin Bio:
Timothy Laurin graduated from Sheridan College School of Design in 1985 and later completed a Master’s Degree from York University majoring in Printmaking. He is a founding member of the PRNT Collective, a not-for-profit group that encompasses artists from Barrie and the surrounding area. Tim enjoys combining traditional print techniques with contemporary processes, pushing the boundaries of what constitutes “printmaking”. He is also the Printmaking instructor for Georgian College, in Barrie

RVH’s art collection includes donations and loans of original pieces by professionally recognized artists of local and national significance focusing on subject matter that dignifies life and promotes healing, both physical and emotional. RVH recognizes and values the therapeutic effects of art experiences.

With an emphasis on contemporary art, the RVH Art Collection includes over 600 artworks and is comprised of pieces by Canadian artists in a variety of media. It is displayed publicly throughout the health centre to provide patients, staff, volunteers and families with inspiration, comfort and distraction and enhances the healing experience.

The following guidelines have been established to ensure that the pieces chosen for display support the vision of an enhanced environment for everyone who spends time at RVH.

A clear emphasis is placed on original artwork of high quality, artistic merit, significance and variety that is diverse, inclusive and sensitive to the setting and needs of the RVH culture and the community it serves.

Acceptance Criteria

  • Only original artwork will be accepted;
  • A focus on contemporary Canadian artwork by well established artists who work regularly in their mediums or less established artists who distinguish themselves through artistic merit;
    • Artwork that is unique in conception and well executed;
    • Has perspective, originality, integrity and staying power as an object;
    • Has a voice or a distinct style to distinguish itself;
    • Adds value to the RVH collection and vision and is in good condition.

Items Not Accepted

In general, the following items do not meet the criteria for acceptance:

  • Artwork with plaques already installed in the framing;
  • Non-numbered original artist prints and editioned works;
  • Reproductions or poster prints, poetry and inspirational messaging and hand-made crafts;
  • Artwork containing images which may offend, including cultural misrepresentation or stereotyping or any adult-oriented content or imagery;
  • Artwork that is materially fragile or in poor condition;
  • Artwork containing religious images will not be accepted.

Potential donors will be asked to submit an image and description of the artwork being offered. Donations will be pre-screened by the Curator, and if determined to be appropriate, will be reviewed by the RVH Art Committee for approval. (Link to Art Donation Form)

If the artwork is accepted, donors are required to sign a formal Deed of Gift transferring legal ownership to RVH. Donors are entitled to receive a charitable tax receipt for the appraised value of approved artwork by obtaining an independent appraisal from a member of the Canadian Art Dealers Association at the donor’s expense.

For inquiries on the donation process or to make an offer of artwork to RVH please contact: art@rvh.on.ca