Community art donated to Michael Garron Hospital

It’s been said that art has the power to heal. If that’s true, patients at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) will soon be a step closer to better health, thanks to a program that brings art created by the community into local hospitals.

The Beaches International Jazz Festival’s multi-arts program was launched in 2014 after the festival received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for new initiatives, including the donation of art to area hospitals. Its co-ordinator, Joanna Katchutas, developed the program with Denny Petrovski, manager of volunteer services at MGH.

Katchutas says the donation of art to the East York hospital is the festival’s “last grand” project.

“We did a donation program to the Scarborough Hospital last year, similar to what we did with Michael Garron Hospital,” she said. “This year the project was on a much grander scale. We had a lot more schools involved and different programs that we didn’t have in the past.”

One of these was the ‘Hang Art, Lift Hearts’ program, where students and teachers at local schools created artwork on ceiling tiles. The tiles are currently being installed in the MGH emergency wing.

All artwork needed to follow the multi-arts program’s theme of music, diversity and community. It held community art workshops during the jazz festival and the resulting artwork was then donated to various hospitals, including MGH.

Nicole D’Amario is the art instructor for the workshops. She says the project gave schools in the area an opportunity to contribute to a good cause.

“The hospital’s involvement gave the program so much of its meaning,” D’Amario said. “The schoolchildren really started to understand the impact of mural work as they took part in building their own mural legacy within their own schools. It helped them gauge the impact that Hang Art, Lift Hearts could make.”

Katchutas said no matter where its creators end up, their artwork will stay in the hospital forever.

“This is something that will always be there,” she said. “The hospitals will always have these paintings and they’re going to make people happy.”

The artwork is still in the process of being displayed throughout the hospital. A plaque naming all the contributors to the project will be erected in MGH’s emergency department when the installation has been completed.