Art gallery in Burr wing all about coping and recovery

News / General
By Matthew Manor

A new patient artwork gallery is now on display in Burr 1, right by the elevators in Kingston General Hospital. It features work from patients in our Acute Mental Health Unit and is known as the Expressions Gallery.

“This initiative has put art on walls which would otherwise be devoid of colour, but it is also an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health illness,” says Jill Holland-Riley, chair of the KGH Art Committee and Director of Volunteer Services and Corporate Accessibility.

The artists who contribute to the gallery are part of a patient program that meets once a week. They turn themes like ‘Hope' and ‘Bridge to Recovery' into works of art as a form of therapeutic expression.

“The emphasis is on process, not product,” says Kerry Oulton, Occupational Therapist who leads the group with support from a volunteer artist. “And evidence-based research tells us that this form of expression works as a coping mechanism, helping in the recovery process.”

The Expressions Gallery will feature new pieces of artwork every month, made possible through the donation of framing by Joe and Lucie Pal, and their family.

“We really see a change in people,” says volunteer artist Judith Gould. “Patients get instant recognition through their artwork, they share the experience with others, and everyone benefits.”