Patient creations throughout our campus illustrate
the healing benefits of art

Patient Creations on Campus

It’s widely believed that art can aid in healing and improve quality of life. But where does this thought come from, and how exactly can exercising your creative side help you recover from illness? compiled a list of possible benefits of art in a health care setting with scientific evidence, proving once and for all that art should be an integral part of medical care. 

How can patients benefit from art?

1. Building relationships with caretakers. 

When patients are guided through an art activity by a member of hospital staff, they can share their story through a vulnerable medium. Both patient and caretaker can grow closer, bolstering trust and understanding.

2. Aiding in relaxation and its many benefits. 

Illness can be mentally and emotional taxing. Art offers a way for patients to recharge without checking out, which can aid in the prevention of depression and lessen anxiety about the future. 

3. Assisting in pain management. 

Recent studies have proven that when applied correctly and regularly, artistic activities can relieve pain without medication, especially when that pain is a product of a recent surgery. In a survey given to participating Swedish Covenant Hospital patients, caretakers discovered that patients on average reported decreased pain and increased calm after an art session. 

4. Allowing patients to express themselves. 

Art can help a patient organize their concerns, making what can be an overwhelming experience more manageable. 

Art Therapy Team

Art at Swedish Covenant Hospital 

Swedish Covenant Hospital supports the use of the arts in patient treatment. The hospital’s Artist in Residence program provides the opportunity for patients to express themselves through the therapeutic power of the creative process, encouraging individuals to be active in their healing process by serving as a way to visualize emotions and experiences. 

“The Artist in Residence program offers patient-centered, collaborative art in an intentional hospital methodology,” said Kari Lindholm-Johnson, artist in residence. “The program’s projects are created in collaboration between patients and staff, even between two or more different departments, and can lead to furthering the healing experience through expressive art."

In addition to being a useful treatment tool to the patient who participates in the activity, many projects are displayed around campus to inspire other patients to get well and brighten the mood of what can be an uncertain setting. The five featured areas below contain art created in collaboration between patients and various departments in the hospital. 

Speech Patient CreationTongue Depressor Mosaics – Winona Second Floor
Created by children in the speech waiting room, these mosaics have hidden letters that are meant to be touched by the children waiting, helping them connect sound, sight and expression. 

“Putting the Pieces Together” – Anderson First Floor
A textile-based project was created by the patients of the inpatient rehabilitation unit. 

Rehabilitation Patient CreationRepurpose Wire, Canvas and Pastels – Anderson Pavilion Third Floor
Created by an inpatient rehabilitation patient utilizing repurposed wire donated by the hospital’s Engineering Department. 

“Core Forms in Life” – Galter Medical Pavilion Lobby
An upcoming exhibit with patients in the Integrated Cancer Care program features patient interpretations of artists Deborah and Glenn Doering’s “Core Form” work. 

Collaborative Patient Art ProjectVaried Collaborative Work – Anderson Pavilion Fourth Floor
A number of patients contributed to this varied collection of collaborative patient work, including several pieces created using repurposed books from the medical library. 

The Artist in Residence program is led by Artist in Residence Kari Lindholm-Johnson. Inpatients on the inpatient rehabilitation, extended care and psychiatry units can participate in group sessions held weekly. Kari will also visit patients on an individual basis upon staff referral.  

If you are interested in learning more about the program or would like to arrange patient sessions, please call 773-878-8200, ext. 4727 or email Kari Lindholm-Johnson at or Angela Scalisi at

By David Modica | Published April 07, 2016
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