Since 2015 the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art has partnered with Mosaic Life Care for the Art Experience Galleries at MLC. Galleries and hallways throughout the hospital are filled with work by area artists on a six-month rotation. The entry fees from artists support the work of the AKMA, while the employees and visitors at MLC enjoy a more welcoming environment.
Studies have shown that art in health care environments can have physical and emotional benefits for both patients and staff. Looking at art has been shown to lead to shorter hospital stays and lower blood pressure. Aimee Kennedy, Team Leader for Sunshine Personal Assistants, echoes these studies, saying “…looking at the artwork on a daily basis is good for your soul and brings joy to so many people, including me.” Artwork in areas like waiting rooms provides a welcome distraction and source of conversation for patients and their families during stressful times.
The program began with a small group of a few dozen artworks hung in two main areas of the building, but its popularity among both artists and the hospital community has led to consistent expansion with new gallery spaces being added and a larger number of artists submitting their work. The most recent exhibition opened with 300 artworks displayed in public spaces throughout the hospital.
The partnership between MLC and the Albrecht-Kemper Museum has allowed this program to focus on local artists by requiring that artists live within 100 miles of St. Joseph. By emphasizing local artists, the program creates connections between hospital visitors and the surrounding community. Katy Richmond, Patient Experience Coordinator, explains,
“I think the Art Experience is important because it highlights the amazingly talented artists in our community. I love how this program offers insight into our local culture and brings some of that into the hospital so our community can appreciate and see the beauty.”
The connection to the community is also why the AKMA is excited to be involved. A key part of the museum’s mission is nurturing regional artists, and the Art Experience Galleries encourage artists at all skill levels to share their talents. The museum manages the entries and coordinates the jurying process with Mosaic employees. Artists as young as high school age have been selected to exhibit their work.
The next deadline for entry will be March 1. More information about how to enter can be found at www.albrecht-kemper.org.
Financial assistance provided by the St. Joseph, Missouri Visitors Bureau.