By Emma Castleberry
When among the halls or rooms of a hospital, it is rare that we have the time or opportunity to critically observe the art on the walls. Be that as it may, hospital art is often carefully selected with the intention of bringing healing, calming vibes to both patients and visitors. “Placing original art work in hospital settings affirms the individuality of the patient,” says Christie Taylor, an advisor with Hodges Taylor Art Consultancy, which helps businesses (including hospitals) build art collections. “It gives each patient or family member the opportunity to seek their own personal expression at a time of much needed distraction.”
Taylor selected three original paintings from artist Jane Schmidt to be installed in a hospital in Concord, NC. Schmidt’s work has made numerous appearances in hospitals and ambulatory centers since 2015, when she was first contacted by Nancy Samotis, who was seeking artwork for hospitals associated with the Yale New Haven Health (YNHH) system. “Nancy works very closely with an advisory committee in determining the art best suited for the benefit of the patients and staff in each healthcare facility,” says Schmidt.
To date, Samotis has purchased 15 original paintings from Schmidt for installation in five different facilities. While Samotis initially bought paintings from Schmidt’s inventory, she eventually started commissioning work from the artist. “Size, composition, palette and subject matter became increasingly specific for each particular health venue,” says Schmidt. “All of this in the interest of an optimal healing environment for patients.”
Schmidt paints landscapes in a style she refers to as “abstract expressionism.” While the forms and colors in her work are subjective, the landscape is still recognizable. She identifies color as the “soul” of her paintings, and explains that color is a very important component for hospital art work. “Color can trigger an emotion, bring us energy or calm our senses,” she says. “My paintings are installed in surgical units and ambulatory centers with the intent to invigorate the patients and inspire them to get moving once their surgery is done.”
Another of Schmidt’s paintings, titled “Southern Charm,” was selected to hang in a unique room on the labor and delivery floor of a hospital in Illinois. Known as Jane’s Room, the space is designed and appointed for grieving parents of a stillborn. “Southern Charm” was selected for its tranquil blues and greens, horizontal emphasis and soft, dreamy edges, which come together to elicit a soothing effect on the viewer. The painting was selected and installed in Jane’s Room by Heather Green, an art consultant with Art Expressions. “Jane’s work expresses an optimism and vitality through color and gesture, so naturally we thought she would be an excellent fit,” says Green. “Human beings are hardwired to respond positively to beauty. We crave it. It only makes sense that when we are sick or vulnerable we would improve when placed in a beautiful environment. Healthcare is most successful when there is a comprehensive approach to treatment, and that includes tending to the human spirit.”
Schmidt’s studio is located in Studio 234 in Riverview Station at 191 Lyman Street in Asheville. For more information, visit JaneSchmidt.com.