Fans of the visual arts may be surprised to learn that Dorset County Hospital boasts the largest collection of contemporary paintings, prints and sculpture in the County, managed by the charity Arts in Hospital. From the well-known landmark outside the building Peter Logan's kinetic sculpture 'The Crayons' which is designed to be appreciated by the children in the nearby ward, to the work of Magnum photographer Martin Parr which captures the idiosyncrasies of the people of Dorset, the greatest part of the collection is freely accessible to the public pretty much all of the time. The collection was formed in the 1980s around the nucleus of a significant donation by Dorset's most famous artist Elisabeth Frink who donated one of her Vizla dog bronze sculptures. Since then it has grown to over 700 works with a strong focus on the Dorset landscape, as it is scientifically proven that views of nature enhance the healing process for many. Internationally known artists represented include Richard Long, Albert Irvin, Terry Frost, Bruce Maclean, Jim Dine, Patrick Caulfield, Susan Derges, Tony Cragg, Garry Fabian Miller, James Ravilious, John Skelton and even cartoonist Glen Baxter.
Our most recent acquisition is Damien Hirst's 'Butterfly Rainbow'. In May 2020 Hirst created this piece to show support for the NHS in the Coronavirus crisis. The work is made up of bands of coloured butterfly wings, one of the artist's best known motifs. A limited edition of the work was produced, raising a total of £1,508,172, with all profits donated to NHS Charities Together, the organisation that represents and supports the official NHS charities working across the UK. Hirst then released a limited edition print of his NHS Rainbow Butterflies to be donated to UK NHS Trusts to inspire and support staff and patients, and we were one of the lucky recipients.
Our most recent commission is a striking golden oak tree 'Precious Scars' by sculptor Andy Kirkby, using the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi celebrating the gift of life that organ donation can bring. Families of organ donors from Dorset County Hospital were invited to a special unveiling ceremony to honour their loved ones memories.
Arts in Hospital also run a programme of professional live music, craft and other activities for hundreds of patients who come to the hospital each year, to alleviate just some of the stress and discomfort that they may be feeling.
Donations are gratefully received, and can be used to commission and purchase new artwork to brighten up the hospital or to fund new participatory projects with professional artists and musicians.