Arts for Life Launched By Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity

On Tuesday 2nd October, the Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity will launch “Arts for Life”, a groundbreaking, three year arts programme for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. In collaboration with the Serpentine Gallery, Christie’s and the Royal College of Music the Charity will develop a series of programmes to integrate arts and health.

As a starting point the Charity is announcing the formation of its Arts Advisory Board consisting of leaders in both the visual and performing arts. This Advisory Board will assist the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to further its pioneering work in the use of arts in health.

These partnerships will also support the Hospital and the Charity’s commitment to delivering world-­‐class medical research and developing significant advances in patient care. Among its key initiatives will be the:

Planned expansion of our strong art presence throughout our renowned HIV centre, which supports 4,700 patients each year, the largest group in Europe. Newly acquired works by American photographer Lois Conner bring beauty and calm to inpatient bedrooms. We are now looking to commission high quality, appropriate artworks as well as developing innovative performing arts programmes (for example dance workshops), which support patients’ self-­‐management and humanise the clinical environment. A Mothers and Babies Centre to provide research and treatment to prevent the brain damage and long term disability that affects up to 2% of newborns. Creation of a Centre of Excellence in Burns Research to pioneer new standards of care for the 3,000 burns patients treated annually by the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Art heals -­‐ A study conducted by the Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity into the psychological and physiological benefits of incorporating the arts into the hospital’s patient experience had found:

31% decrease in depression in the presence of music
18% decrease in anxiety and 34% decrease in depression in the presence of visual art
80% said that art changed their mood for the better
65% said the art eased their stress levels 2.1 hour decrease in the duration of labour for women giving birth in a room equipped with artist-­‐ designed screens
Patients exposed to visual art and live music during the post-­‐operative period required less analgesia per day and stayed on average 1 day less in hospital

‘Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, by colour, and light, we do know this, that they have an actual physical effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients, are actual means of recovery.’
-­‐ Florence Nightingale, 1820-­‐1910

It is the goal of the Charity to be transformational both in its outlook and in its impact. With the help of our partners we believe that we can achieve this goal.

“To be an artist is to believe in Life.” -­‐ Henry Moore

Photo:  Allen Jones, The Acrobat (1993) A site-­‐specific work built into the hospital’s design


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