Artist in Hospital Project. Maine Arts Commission Award


Artist in Hospital Project. Maine Arts Commission Award

Artist in Hospital Project. Maine Arts Commission Award. Erin McGee Ferrell Granted Arts Health Care Initiative. Altering Environment.

Artist in Hospital Project. Maine Arts Commission Award

“I will spend 8 weeks as a LIVE artist in a Maine Hospital ER waiting room. My observations made from painting in public on the streets for twenty five years as a professional artist can be directly compared/ contrasted and surveyed in a specific Health Care setting.” Erin McGee Ferrell

Funded in part by a grant from The Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


I am excited about this exploration into how a working visual artist can gain a foothold in the Health Care Industry. At this time art can be found in hospitals on walls and in therapy programs. Yet active Visual artists alter environments and evoke transformation in stressful situations. This project will allow me to research and document more opportunities for collaboration between the arts and Health.

Watching a LIVE Artist in the Hospital ER waiting room expands upon my previous Pecha Kucha from the 2015 Global Alliance for Arts and Health in Houston, Texas, “The LIVE Artist in the Hospital Lobby.” After two years of continuing to paint in variety of public spaces my observations of outcomes remain the same. Live Artists alter environments, induce relaxation, and create spontaneous community. The artist creating alters the environment from one of fear and anxiety to one of engaged curiosity. The presence of the active artist induces relaxation for those who watch. Spontaneous community occurs around the artist. Patients and families talk with each other.

The working visual artist in the Hospital ER Waiting Room alters the environment, induces relaxation, and creates spontaneous Community.

1. Watching an artist create while sitting in an ER waiting room induces relaxation in patients and their families.

2. Having an artist creating in the ER waiting room alters the stressful environment.

3. Spontaneous Community forms around the active artist, bridging strangers of all ethnicity.

4. Reinforces the Artist’s role as an active verses passive healer in Health Care Environments

Over the past two years I have worked with Maine’s refugee communities. Whole Foods Market Maine sponsored my Art/ Urban Garden initiative bridging diverse economic communities using visual art. My family has provided a home for two Sudanese children of a refugee mother for the past year. My experience in medical and health clinics with the children and also within the refugee community places me in direct engagement with this population group and their eyes into the health care environment.
My work as a professional artist and educator has spanned twenty five years. The experience I have renders me comfortable in all mediums and practices of Visual Art Creating. Each time I set up a work space in the ER waiting room I will bring nontoxic painting, drawing, or collage materials. I will be actively seeking viewer engagement in the art making through explanation of what I am doing or by offering art making opportunities. The work which is produced through this exploration in alternative art making environments, though not the end goal, will be documented and put on my blog. Quantifiable data from participants surveyed will be presented at the North American Organization for Arts in Health Care’s biannual conference and also to the Maine Arts Commission. The project will be artistically strong in the variety of materials explored, the proficiency which I weld the materials, and the overall documentation and presentation of this research.

Erin McGee Ferrell is attending the National Organization
For Arts In Health (NOAH) Conference September 2017. Austin, Texas.

Are you interested in collaborating with Erin on this project? Contact me.