Client: Penn State Health
Location: Lancaster, PA, United States
Completion date: 2022
Senior Project Manager
Claire de Boer
Penn State Health
Senior Interior Designer
Aesthetics, Inc. installed 426 artworks at Penn State Health’s new hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in August 2022. The art program as a whole represented the work of 150 artists from the region, 50 of whom were awarded site-specific commissions for large, feature artworks. Artists and artworks were selected in concert with the hospital’s art committee, which put special emphasis on seeking out regional artists from traditionally under-represented, multicultural groups, in order to reflect the diversity of the surrounding population. This was very successful in helping provide an inclusive, welcoming environment for the ethnically-broad community who will be treated there.
The 341,000-square-foot, six-story medical center features 132 private inpatient beds, an emergency department with over 30 beds, various specialty inpatient services, including a cardiac catheterization lab, labor and delivery and complete medical and surgical capabilities. It also has an attached medical office building for physician practices and outpatient services. The medical center sits in a rapidly growing county, serving residents from Lancaster and York counties, including the Amish community.
Fundamental to any hospital art program is the goal of helping create a welcoming interior environment supportive of health and healing. As a new hospital opening near an established community, the artwork program was developed with several additional goals. The first among them was to help ground the new hospital in the community by providing artwork that visually reflected it, done by artists of their own region. The selected and commissioned artwork reflects both the physical landscapes and the people who live there. A special outreach program attracted many artists from traditionally under-represented cultural groups. The result is a robust display of creativity, both from and about the community the hospital serves.
Aesthetics provided guidance to the hospital for forming and organizing an art committee. One of the goals of hospital leadership was to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the organization, and the art committee themselves were a mix of cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds. In addition to a general call for artists in the region, members of the committee provided outreach to additional artists from traditionally under-represented groups. The hospital received over 200 applicants for the art program. Aesthetics worked with the architecture team to identify opportunities for feature artworks, and then with the art committee to select artists for feature commissions in site-specific locations. Aesthetics worked with artists to compliment bold interior wall colors in the palates of their original artworks, providing excellent integration of art and architecture. The art committee helped select additional artworks submitted by regional artists for corridors, patient rooms, exam and treatment spaces.
Sixty hospital employees were surveyed almost a year after the installation regarding the artwork’s impact on their daily work environment. The results were overwhelmingly positive. The artwork increased their appreciation of their environment and also their community. “The art displayed at LMC highlights the diversity, culture and history of Lancaster County. Every time you look at an art piece hung in the corridors and patient rooms you feel a direct connection with it.” “I love the thoughtfulness in selecting and placing the artwork. It truly impacts the work environment in unimaginable ways.” “Eclectic. There is a piece for everyone and every mood. I love the abundance of artwork everywhere you turn. It also warms my heart knowing it is local artists. It makes my day brighter. I often find myself staring into my most favorite piece of artwork in the family birthing suite.” In addition to conclusively improving the employee experience, many of those surveyed mention the positive, unsolicited comments they hear from visitors and patients. “The patients love the art. One patient said she was calmed by the art in her room because it reminded her of her grandparent's farm.”