Western art

Western art

The ambitious arts programme for the new Gloucestershire Royal Hospital is designed to produce artworks that help create a welcoming environment and act as guiding features.

Work has begun on the first of the 10 artists’commissions for the new Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, a £30m PFI redevelopment scheme, which is due for completion this summer.

The commissions are part of Leading the Way, a three year arts programme that seeks to enhance the new Gloucestershire Royal through a series of integrated public art commissions and artists’ residencies.

The commissions will represent a major new public art collection for Gloucestershire, accessible not only to patients and staff of the hospital, but also to visitors and the general public. Each of the commissions seeks to fulfil a supportive therapeutic function within the new building.

Four weather masts or ‘Diagnosis Light Beacons’ by artist Simon Ryder will be installed, one outside each of the main entrances to the new hospital, displaying air temperature, pressure, humidity and air flow. Each mast is topped by a single word – “warmth,” “pulse,” “breath” and “moisture” (see pic, left).

A fifth, virtual mast – the web mast – will bring all the weather information together, broadcasting it to anyone in Gloucestershire with access to the internet, and also to every bedhead internet terminal in the new hospital.

Artists Heinrich and Palmer are creating a 360° panoramic photograph of Gloucester and the surrounding area using the roof of the tower block of the old hospital as the pivotal point from which to photograph. Public poet Ralph Hoyte has been working with artist and metal worker Steve Joyce to create an informative and welcoming wall poem.

Jason Bruges’ courtyard chandelier of light will create a sense of movement, depth, scale and transparency in the outpatients’ courtyard, bringing the outside into the hospital by responding directly to the skyscape above Gloucester (CAD, left).

A series of specially commissioned artworks for the new Children’s Centre such as the Bubble Tower by Andy Hazell will help create a child-focused environment to reassure parents and distract and entertain children.

Sue Kinley’s vinyl floor designs, which run throughout the Children’s Centre, will provide a welcoming and unique identity for all the children’s areas, as well as a sense of exploration and discovery for children as they move around the centre.

Other installations include: a series of colourful, child-friendly recycled glass and plastic inlays designed by David Watson to be set into the asphalt path leading to the children’s entrance, a vibrant ceramic wall by Marion Brandis to greet children and families as they arrive (detail, above), and wall-mounted bedside display cases by Beatrice Matud, which will be placed at the side of each of the beds in the Children’s Centre.

In addition, designer julie Matthews has created a flexible display system in the hospital – three areas to display work created through the arts programme. Two of these, one in the Children’s Centre and the other on the ground floor of the outpatients wing, will show exhibitions of pictures and photographs; the third is a Digital Gallery, situated near to the main reception desk.

To help distract, calm and entertain those waiting, the Gloucestershire Royal Schools Residency Programme (GRASP) will enable six hospital departments, with waiting and consulting areas specifically designated for children and their families, to collaborate with artists and county schools to create artworks.

To complement the commissioned artworks, Elixir, a programme of artists’ residencies, is intended to take place in 2005 with the aim of producing permanent artworks as well as temporary works for the exhibition sites.

For more information visit www.leadingthewayarts.info

Copyright Wilmington Publishing Ltd. Apr 2004

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