Like gardens, art in the healthcare setting has healing potential. And like gardens, the artwork chosen should be based on evidence rather than solely on the opinions or aesthetics of designers, administrators, or curators.
Here is an excellent post by Healthcare Fine Art blogger Henry Domke about why choice of artwork should be evidence based, "Where's the Beef? The Evidence for Evidence-Based Art."
Probably one of the most influential studies and essays is
Ulrich, Roger S. and Laura Gilpin (2003). "Healing arts: Nutrition for the Soul." In Putting Patients First: Designing and Practicing Patient-Centered Care. Eds. Frampton, Susan B., Laura Gilpin, and Patrick A. Charmel. San Francisco:John Wiley & Sons.
Some good online resources:
Arts and Healing
Many more links on this website.
The Foundation for Art & Healing
The mission of the Foundation is to use its position as a “bridge” to create and expand general awareness about art and healing, to bring forward through research and related explorations critical knowledge about art and healing and the relationship between them, and to help make this knowledge available at the individual and community level.
The Foundation for Photo/Art in Hospitals, Inc.
The Foundation for Photo/Art in Hospitals, Inc. is a non-profit publicly supported organization dedicated to placing colorful, soothing photographs of nature in hospitals to give comfort and hope to patients and their families, visitors, and caregivers.
Society for the Arts in Healthcare
A great organization with many resources and link on their website.
Books and articles:
Hathor, Kathy and Upali Nanda. A Guide to Evidence-based Art. Published by the Center for Health Design.
Malkin, Jain (2008). A Visual Reference for Evidence-Based Design. The Center for Health Design.
Nanda, Upali. "Art for Health's Sake: An Evidence-Based Approach." In Asian Hospital & Healthcare Management.
Nanda, Upali, Kathy Hathorn, and Tali Neumann (2007). "The Art-Cart Program."
Nanda, Upali, Cherly M. Canaud, Linda Brown, Robyn Hart, and Kathy Hathorn (2009). "Pediatric Art Preferences: Countering the 'One-Size-Fits-All' Approach." Health Environments Research & Design Journal (HERD), Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 46-61.
Spencer, Jon Michael (1997). Live Arts Experiences: Their Impact on Health and Wellness, 2nd Edition. Hospital Audiences, Inc.