The executives at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago know that art has an emotional component and an ability to transform the experience of all who visit their facility.
H. Marion Art Consulting Services was hired by the Executive Art Coordinating Group, consisting of five individuals representing upper management, purchasing, philanthropy, the board of trustees, and the Office of Transformation. Meeting monthly for 14 months, a plan was crafted to identify the 1,400 pieces of art that would be installed in Rush’s new 14-floor, one-million-square-foot tower, which opened in January.
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“We wanted to represent Rush as the premier city hospital of Chicago,” H. Marion President Jan Marion explains. All art selections needed to complement the world-class, contemporary architecture, celebrate the unique urban environment, and include healing imagery.
“This hospital serves a wide range of ethnic, social, racial, and economic groups,” he emphasizes. “We were instructed to ensure our palette was approachable and accessible to all: nothing overly elaborate. The client described themselves like the Donny and Marie song: ‘We’re a little bit country; we’re a little bit rock and roll.’”
The art committee sought to develop an art program that follows these three tenets:
- The art needs to act as an interior finish, complementing the contemporary, curvilinear midcentury architecture;
- The art program should represent Chicago as a world-class city, showcasing the diverse cultures of the neighborhoods the hospital serves; and
- The art must include healing Midwestern organic imagery.
The selection and placement of pieces throughout the many floors and departments was carefully orchestrated to create a thread of consistency throughout the entire hospital as well as to maintain sensibility to each individual department’s art requirements. All placements work beautifully with signage and the architecture itself.
Special consideration was given to the family lounge areas of each floor, where patients and visitors gather to relax together. Some of these lounges are themed to the particular department, such as pediatrics, which includes brightly colored children’s art and sculptures on the walls of figures climbing ropes.