Healing Arts

“A healing arts culture can lighten the burden of illness carried by patients and their families. It can speed recovery and helps to retain staff.”
Sharon Toups, STHS chief operating officer

At STHS, the Healing Arts Initiative is a program of the St. Tammany Hospital Foundation to promote art as a core component of healthcare and the healing process in the hospital and its outpatient facilities. The St. Tammany Hospital Foundation Healing Arts Initiative launched in 2004 out of the annual employee campaign. This seed money raised by the employees was used to purchase a player piano in the hospital lobby, aquariums in both the Pediatric Unit and the Cordes Outpatient Pavilion, Healing Ceiling tiles in MRI and CT rooms as well as a restful south Louisiana landscape mural in the Radiology Department. These simple purchases were paramount to what would become an arts initiative ingrained in how we deliver care at St. Tammany. The next step was outfitting our new 4 South unit in 2008 from the ground up, meaning considering what would be conducive to a healing environment when choosing lighting, floor materials, room design and even wallpaper. STHS worked with Fauntleroy Latham Weldon Barré (FLWB) Architects, whose president  Kieran J. Weldon AIA notes, "Our goals were to provide a unique patient and family experience that echoed an upscale hotel through the use of texture, sustainable materials, interactive water features and ceiling canopies. We worked with organic wallpaper prints and both passive and natural lighting for each patient. We focused on the patient, family, visitor and caregiver."  

Out of this project a committee of employees, artists and community members was formed. This group added murals, a mediation garden and music elements to campus. They have completely outfitted the Women’s Pavilion and the infusion area in our cancer center with art, sculpture and natural elements. Most recently, they played an integral part in planning the look and feel of the new dedicated pediatric ED waiting room and its healing gardens. Most recently, the Healing Arts Initiative began the Healing Arts Rotating Gallery Series, a semi-annual exhibition of local artist's work.

Arts in healthcare is more than just the aesthetically beautiful. Studies show that a healing environment can translate to better outcomes, shorter length of stays and the overall well-being of a patient, making it a crucial component of patient care. It is a diverse and multidisciplinary field dedicated to transforming the healthcare experience by connecting people with the power of arts at key moments in their lives. It integrates literary, performing, musical and visual arts and design for therapeutic, educational and expressive purposes.

We in the Foundation are proud to be stewards of this healthcare initiative. And we are proud to have donors who are passionate about making the inclusion of arts in healthcare the standard at St. Tammany Health System.

The foundation encourages Northshore artists and other members of the community to join its Healing Arts committee and to be on the lookout for artist calls for our Rotating Gallery Series. For more information contact Nicole Suhre at 985-898-4171 or nsuhre@stph.org.

Make a gift today!

Click here to make a secure online donation to the Healing Arts or contact the Foundation Office.