A selection committee made up of staff, physicians and patient and family partners helped to curate art by local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) artists for the patient and family learning centre at St. Michael’s.

A new art installation at St. Michael’s Hospital is inviting patients, families and staff to learn about the Patient and Family Education program and their efforts to support anti-racism and anti-oppression.

The Unity Health-St. Michael’s Patient & Family Education team brought together a committee made up of staff, physicians and patient and family partners with a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds to bring art and a sense of community into their patient and family learning centre space.

Jasdeep Grewal, Patient Education Specialist, helped to lead a committee focused on bringing art and a sense of community to the patient and family learning centre space at St. Michael’s.

Jasdeep Grewal, Patient Education Specialist, said the idea behind the project was to curate art from local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) artists to open a dialogue, celebrate art, and amplify community voices to make the hospital feel safer and more inclusive.

“Art can contribute to the delivery of better health and wellbeing and can improve the overall experience for staff and patients,” says Grewal.

Unity Health Toronto’s Patient & Family Education teams operate its patient and family learning centres,which help patients, families, caregivers, community members and staff learn more about health conditions and community services. They offer training and education in areas of health literacy, help patients and families to find resources, and collaborate with hospital units to make sure best practices are in place.

Grewal established a selection committee who collectively developed an evaluation criteria and suggested works of art and artists to consider for the project. The committee members included patient and family partners, as well as representation from the Office of Indigenous Wellness, Reconciliation and Partnerships, the Office of Anti-Racism, Equity and Social Accountability (ARESA), and staff, patients, and physicians from all of Unity Health’s hospital sites.

“The Office of Indigenous Wellness Reconciliation and Partnerships is happy to have partnered with the committee to bring such a beautiful range of BIPOC art into the patient and family resource area,” says Roberta Pike, Director Indigenous Wellness Reconciliation & Partnerships.

“I am so full of hope in seeing Unity Health living its commitment by supporting this project and producing a space that has visibly Indigenous art, acknowledges and celebrates the rich culture, and contributions of the original inhabitants of this land. The unspoken invitation that it provides to the Indigenous community to engage in this resource area is a welcomed sight and incredibly powerful.”

Feedback on the artwork has already been overwhelmingly positive. Staff have said it makes the space look brighter and more welcoming and feels culturally inclusive and celebratory for the many communities Unity Health serves.

“Art is a great conversation starter. This is an opportunity for people to learn about each other and deepen relationships through conversations,” says Grewal. “We can bring forward voices that are often silenced or left out.”

Patients and families who have visited the space have also remarked that, “art is important in public spaces and I love seeing all the different styles,” and “We loved the space it’s in – perfect combination.”

Take a look at the gallery below to see some of the pieces that make up the collection and read the artists’ bios.

Gallery

By: Danielle Pereira. Photos by Yuri Markarov.