The vision to brighten spaces

Ella Rhodes on the ‘Hospital Rooms’ art project.

Hospital Rooms, a charity which commissions well-known artists to transform spaces in locked and secure mental health units, working alongside service users and staff, is embarking on six new projects this year. Bringing together artists such as Julian Opie, Rose Pilkington and Bindi Vora, the charity has completed seven projects including 45 beautiful pieces of art since it was founded in 2016.

The striking work above was hand-painted by artist Mark Titchner in the TV room of Bluebell Lodge in London, an inpatient rehabilitation unit for men. Titchner has also been involved in Hospital Room’s first two projects of this year, at a Mother and Baby Unit and Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit in Devon.

Curator Niamh White and artist Tim Shaw founded Hospital Rooms after a close friend was admitted to a mental health hospital under section, and they were struck by the bleak environment of the hospital. After some research, they realised that access to visual arts was sorely limited for people in such settings and became determined to change this. They now have a waiting list of more than 30 locked and secure mental health units around the country.

March will see the start of 2019’s second project, in the Hellingly Centre in Sussex, which will bring together artists Richard Wentworth, Lothar Gotz and Tim Shaw. In May artists Sonia Boyce, Jessica Voorsager, Michael O’Reilly and Harold Offeh will begin work at Croydon Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit.

Two further projects will begin in July and October; the first at adolescent unit Bluebird House in Southampton and the second at a women’s unit Rosewood Ward in London.

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