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Humanizing Hospitals, One Wall at a Time

Hospitals are able to provide quality care in part by establishing a sterile, clinical setting.
But sometimes promoting patients' well-being means dialing back this clinical environment just a bit. Through the Anouk Foundation, artists, patients, and medical staff collaborate on large-scale artistic interventions that make hospitals feel warmer and more human.

The Anouk Foundation’s therapeutic murals are developed in close collaboration between artists and the hospital community, who collectively decide on a theme. Each project aims to humanize an institution not only with the final artistic product, but also with the process through which it is created. Based in Switzerland and founded in 2008, Anouk also works in group homes for children, elder care homes, detention centers, and in other institutions.
One Anouk mural project supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) was recently unveiled at Dr. Victor Gomoiu Children’s Hospital in Bucharest in a ceremony attended by the city’s mayor, and another will be completed in the coming months at the adolescent ward Emergency Unit at the Hospital Dona Estefânia in Lisbon. SNF has provided repeated support to Anouk Foundation projects over the past decade, as well as to a similar recent projects engaging hospital community stakeholders in brightening their space with art through Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice and Arts dans la Cité.
The Foundation has also moved to help humanize hospitals through support for projects like the creation of a playroom in Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Pelican Ward, which provides specialized care to children in London. The landmark infrastructure construction projects that are part of SNF’s major Health Initiative in Greece—three new planned hospitals in Komotini, Thessaloniki, and Sparta—will be designed as truly human-oriented structures. In plans for the new SNF General Hospital of Komotini released recently by renowned architect Renzo Piano, each patient room will receive copious natural light and will look out on the dense forest in which the hospital will be set.