Looking for the Best Examples of Healthcare Art? Start Here.

By Kurt Johnson Photography • April 8, 2024

There are lots of things that have to be considered when designing healthcare environments, and safety is always at the top of the list, as it should be.  Hospitals and clinics must consider things like preventing injuries and falls, equipment maintenance, security, and infection control.  Surfaces need to be easily cleaned to keep the environment sterile for patients, visitors, and staff.

But one aspect of these safety concerns is sometimes overlooked – it has to do with the importance of patients’ mental well-being.  And that’s where healthcare art can play a big role in creating an environment that truly heals.

You’ve heard us talk about the many studies that support the importance of bringing nature indoors to support healing – how viewing nature images can have the same effects as being outdoors. This is significant when it comes to choosing healthcare art.

If you can improve outcomes just by using the right kind of nature art in your facility, why wouldn’t you pay attention to the art on the walls?  It’s an easy, cost-effective way to incorporate elements of biophilic design into any space, whether it’s a remodel or new construction.

Our team at Kurt Johnson Photography (KJP) has over 30 years of experience and is well-researched in the field of biophilic design.  We’ve had the chance to work with some truly amazing designers, architects, facilities coordinators, substrate providers, nurses, doctors, and many others who’ve used our nature images in creative ways to bring more healing to their wellness environments.

Here are a few of the best examples of healthcare art that have come from our collaborations with healthcare facilities throughout the country:

This Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, MN chose healthcare art featuring bold, macro flower images to bring nature indoors.  The soothing flower petals and organic patterns create calming, uplifting views that connect patients and visitors to the natural world.

Flowers symbolize beauty, hope, growth, and re-birth, all things associated with the joy of welcoming newborns into the world, and children receiving life-saving support and care.  As an added benefit, the placement of the various colors on different floors was used as wayfinding throughout the hospital.  This installation checks all the boxes for nature art that makes a BIG statement (literally) by bringing nature into the built environment.

Nebraska Medicine’s Village Pointe Health Center was the first Nebraska Medicine project to integrate Leo A Daly’s new sustainability standards, including “Enhancing the human experience with interiors designed for flexibility, connection, and wellbeing.”  The designers chose our Impressionism images to bring views of nature indoors and encourage people to take the stairs.

LEO A DALY designers Alison Topp and Jennifer Ankerson created a sustainable, healing environment with intuitive wayfinding that packs a punch!

This is what it looks like to incorporate nature as PART of the design.  We love working with partners as passionate about the importance of nature and healing as we are, and it shows in this beautiful new health center!

From waiting areas to exam rooms, Boone County Health Center’s outpatient clinic expansion in small-town Albion, NE chose framed nature photographs and large gallery-wrapped canvases featuring indigenous landscapes and botanicals to emphasize the center’s theme of Midwestern wellness and community.

Landscape photographs taken around the area of the hospital nurture the connections between the clinic’s staff, patients, and the larger community, having a meaningful impact on the health and wellness of the patients.

Local nature images have been shown to promote relaxation, provide positive distractions, enhance moods, and engage both patients and staff.  Pretty impressive when healthcare art becomes part of the care team!  Read all about this fascinating town and how they’re strengthening wellness in their community here.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s world-renowned Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha, NE is a great example of how not all art is created (or installed) the same way.  Designers Allison Topp and Eva Kreuger always kept the population MMI serves in mind when designing the space – children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental needs. 

So while one side of a hallway has engaging artwork with colorful, natural patterns for children “to get lost in,” the opposite side is blank for children who need less stimulation.

Various substrates including framed art, canvas wraps, elevator graphics, and animal “stickers” were used for interactive, playful, wayfinding, helping patients reduce stress as they reach their destinations.  A lot of thought, dedication and care went into this truly unique installation you can read all about here.

Designer Monica Albertson of Allina Health United Hospital in St Paul, MN, used a wayfinding strategy combining bold colors and soothing nature photographs to distinguish different areas of the hospital.

This allowed them to simplify navigation while incorporating biophilic design throughout the facility, providing lots of benefits to patients and staff.  Not only is it easier for patients, visitors, and the care team to find their way, but they feel better when they get there.  Definitely a benefit to using the right type of healthcare art. Learn more about the color navigation used in this vibrant installation here.

It can be challenging to bring the feeling of the outdoors into built environments when there’s no access to windows and no determined set-up for lighting.  That was the task when we met with CHI’s Immanuel Hospital in Omaha.  They understood the benefits of incorporating nature art into their facility, but they were limited by the confines of older construction (their facility was established in the 1970s).

A combination of uplifting nature photographs and a unique REXframe display by Renze was the perfect self-contained solution.  This dark corridor was transformed into a bright beacon of biophilic design that patients and staff eagerly visit.

Glass is gaining popularity as a manageable and effective way to incorporate biophilic design into healthcare environments.

Allina Health Joint Replacement Center located in John Nasseff Medical Center in St Paul, MN chose two supersized nature images for their waiting area.  They selected glass because of its nonporous surface and durability.  Patients frequently comment on the breathtaking views of happy clouds and vibrant green grasses that greet them when they arrive.

The images transport patients to the outdoors and fill the space with an undeniable sense of calm.

Choosing the right healthcare art for your facility can have a big impact on things like wayfinding, patient outcomes, and staff retention.  By making your walls an extension of your care team, you can encourage healing from the moment patients walk through the door, check in at the front desk or have a seat in the waiting room.  And that’s ultimately the essence of healthcare design – making life better for patients and the care team.


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