The walls throughout the Bowbridge reception and outpatients department at the hospital are to be lined with a rolling programme of artwork supplied by students from the renowned art department of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS).
Forty original pieces of work from students on the Level 3 Art and Design course went display at the hospital last week, with a private viewing for the students, families and friends.
And thanks to a hanging and framing system funded by Stroud Hospitals League of Friends the hospital will continue to team up with students from other courses at the college to ensure a steady stream of images for both visitors and clinicians to enjoy.
Helen Acock, team manager for surgery and outpatients at the hospital, said a major refurbishment last year left the hospital looking new and polished, but with large areas of plain wall space. “Looking around the outpatients department it seemed there was something missing. The walls were very bare and there was nothing for people who were waiting to look at. I’m passionate about younger people understanding the work that goes on in a hospital and thought it a shame not to be using the wall space that we have. So I approached Stroud college and the League of Friends to see if they might be able to put on and sponsor an art display – it appeared a natural way to collaborate. We hope this project improves the experience for patients at the hospital as well as showing what can be achieved in partnership with other organisations.”
The League of Friends contributed £2,750 to pay for the hanging system, which has unobtrusive runners high up on the walls to which wires are attached, and 28 frames. For the initial display some of the frames will house art from more than one student to allow all the work to be shown.
David Miller, chairman of Stroud Hospitals League of Friends, said: “Stroud hospitals are at the heart of our community and the League of Friends receives wonderful support from local organisations and people. We hope that this new co-operative project with Stroud College art department will increase community involvement with the Stroud hospitals and particularly involve students at the art college in their local hospital. It will provide a community space to show their fine creative talents.”
The initial display features painting, drawing, collage and digitally produced images and for most of the 16 to 18-year-olds involved will represent the first opportunity to showcase their work in public.
Justin Gregory, head of the art faculty at SGS, said: “It’s a great partnership for many reasons. To get exhibition space for art is both expensive and fiercely competitive, so this gives our young and upcoming artists that opportunity – which will give them a lot of confidence as well as an exciting project to get their teeth into. It is also great to have a showcase for art somewhere so central to our community. We want to make this a rolling exhibition and try to refresh it at least once a term so there is always something new on display, while giving as many young artists as possible the chance to participate.”
Photo: Chelsea-Paige Savage, aged 17, who painted the left image, and the right image is by Ali Ferro Kirby, aged 16, both students at SGS College