Partnership brings art collection into view at hospital

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Lismore Base Hospital’s new link bridges may be functional walkways, but they also double as impressive indoor art galleries thanks to a partnership project between Lismore City Council and the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD).

Two 100-metre link bridges connect the existing hospital with the recently opened emergency and renal units in the new south tower. These link bridges were purpose-built with special security measures and hanging devices for artwork, enabling the Lismore Regional Gallery to showcase a revolving exhibition of around 50 works from its permanent collection of around 1000 pieces.

Working in partnership with Lismore Regional Gallery provides a changing exhibition of paintings, which will be the site for a special tour with the gallery’s resident art guru, Peggy Popart and local school children.

A tour of the link bridge ‘gallery’ was held on March 22 with children from Tuntable Falls Community Early Childhood Centre. As well as the tour, Peggy Popart will be conducting art-based activities for patients in the Children’s Ward.

Executive Director of the Richmond Clarence Health Services Group, Lynne Weir, was previously involved in a similar partnership in Western NSW LHD, and saw an opportunity to replicate the idea here as part of the Lismore Base Hospital redevelopment.  

“Art projects have worked well in other hospitals and we have already received a lot of positive feedback from patients, visitors and staff – in fact they love it,” Ms Weir said.

“I like to tell people that we don’t have link bridges, we have art galleries. Studies have shown that art helps patients and families in the healing process. It’s a fantastic way of brightening the building and bringing something of interest into the hospital environment,” Ms Weir said.

Lismore Regional Gallery director Brett Adlington said he jumped at the idea when the NNSW LHD approached him, securing funds from Council’s Partnering Strategy to support the ongoing project.

“I know how successful projects of this kind have been and I could immediately see the possibilities,” Brett said.

With the former Lismore Regional Gallery now closed for renovations, the hospital exhibition provides an alternative space where the public can view items in the permanent collection until the new gallery opens later this year.

“This project gives us a unique mechanism to bring art to people at a time when they are sorely in need of something to lift their spirits or occupy their mind. It’s a great partnership and outcome for our community,” Brett said.

Image: Children from Tuntable Falls Community Early Childhood Centre with (rear l-r) Peggy Popart, Executive Director of the Richmond Clarence Health Services Group Lynne Weir, Lismore City Council Executive Director Brent McAlister and Lismore City Councillor Elly Bird.

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