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Volunteers fund artwork for hospital remodel

Part of offering a caring experience is providing patients and visitors with a cohesive, welcoming and calming environment. In fact, health care spaces that follow best practices of “evidence-based design” have been proven to positively affect patient outcomes and caregiver satisfaction. Everything from the fabric of the furniture, paint colors, pictures on the wall and the layout of the room is important.

Artwork is an essential piece of the puzzle, but it’s often not included in the budget for remodeled spaces. Therefore, when plans were underway to remodel floors six through eight in the North Tower of Rapid City Hospital, Facilities Management & Construction asked the Volunteer Auxiliary if they had the means to support an artwork fund. The auxiliary provided $60,000 to cover artwork for all three floors.

New artwork hangs in the 6th Floor of Rapid City Hospital as part of the North Tower remodel.


“Hospital beautification efforts have always been important to our auxiliary, because we want to make sure patients and visitors have a welcoming space as they are navigating our halls,” said Konnie Sorensen, Volunteer Services Coordinator for Rapid City Hospital.

The Volunteer Auxiliary started contributing to an art fund in 2000 and has played a big role in installing artwork in various buildings. The auxiliary raises money through the gift shop, commission from vending machines and on-site fundraising sales.

Elle Larsen, Real Estate Specialist with Facilities Management & Construction, said choosing artwork for Monument Health spaces is a meticulous process that involves a committee of caregivers from marketing, patient experience, diversity and inclusion, the Monument Health Foundation and construction. The committee has worked with a consultant to develop standards for Monument Health artwork so that all pieces are selected with certain standards and design elements in mind.

“When you offer all design elements in one cohesive package, it creates a more comforting environment for the patient,” Elle said. “It’s not just pretty pictures on the wall; it’s a feeling you get.”

The committee tries as much as possible to feature local artists and to feature art that is familiar to patients. Artwork featuring photography of the Black Hills and Badlands and other geography of our region can help create this sense of comfort through familiarity.

“We cover a very culturally and regionally diverse area, so it’s important that when patients come to us from all of these different places that they see something that is familiar to them,” Elle said.

Last year, the John T. Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute (CCI) lobby was remodeled, it included new artwork which was funded by the Foundation. Kristi Gylten, CCI Director, has heard patients and family members describe how the art provides a sense of calm.

“Whether it touches them spiritually, emotionally or socially, the art helps create a healing environment for all who spend time in our lobby,” Kristi said. “This can make all the difference in how patients and family members cope with their disease during one of the most difficult times of their lives.”

Thank you to the Volunteer Auxiliary for understanding the importance of the full patient experience. Artwork on the sixth floor was installed last week. The seventh and eighth floor installations will happen at the end of August. The auxiliary will be recognized with a plaque on each floor.

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