Arts in Health Care


Three people working with scissors, glue, and felt.

Our Mission

Promote the joining of art and music in health care settings and through evaluation, research and regarding its effects.

Our Vision

Through the everyday presence of art and music in health care settings, enhance the health care experience and promote the physical and emotional well-being of patients, visitors and staff. Evaluation and research activities guide Arts in Healthcare growth and contribute to the scientific body of knowledge about arts in health care.

Person gesturing to a stack of colorful papers

Integration of Art & Healing

Samaritan patients and employees benefit from ArtsCare, a groundbreaking program that places artists in local hospitals to add the arts into the process of healing. The Arts in Healthcare program involves specially-trained artists who work regularly with patients in areas such as dialysis, ambulatory infusion, medical/surgical units, cardiac rehabilitation, mental health and the Mario Pastega House.

The artists work with various media including clay, drawing, painting, printmaking, fiber art, mixed media quilting, doll making, fabric crafts and many forms of creative writing. In addition, participating musicians visit the hospitals regularly to provide the healing sounds of the harp, viola, guitar and voice.

Artists partner with hospital staff to offer workshops for cancer survivors and caregivers. They also complete commissioned artwork for public spaces and patient care areas throughout the Samaritan system.

Fingers poised over the strings of a harp.

Funding the Program

Arts in Healthcare programs are supported by Samaritan Health Services, The Arts Center in Corvallis, Oregon, the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts and the Arts in Healthcare Fund, created by local residents Bob and Kitty Bunn in 2004. Since then it has been supported by grants and financial gifts from like-minded donors. Earnings from the fund support programs and projects at Samaritan-affiliated hospitals and other health care providers in the region.

Hands and scissors over pieces of felt.

National Attention

Both Samaritan Health Services and The Arts Center have received grant support for their Arts and Health collaboration from the Oregon Arts Commission to develop training for participating artists and from the National Organization for Arts in Health to complete strategic planning for the program.

Employees from both organizations have been frequent presenters at the National Organization for Arts in Health’s annual conference, and have hosted site visits and trainings for the University of Oregon’s graduate program in Arts in Healthcare Management. Samaritan employees have also hosted multiple site visits to their healing gardens in Lebanon, and have presented at the North American Japanese Garden Association Conference at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

Funded by the John C. Erkkila, MD Endowment for Health and Human Performance, Arts in Healthcare research findings have been presented at local and national conferences, and research psychologist Jana Kay Slater, PhD, contributed a chapter on arts-based research methods to Managing Arts Programs in Healthcare.

ArtsCare Patients, Artists & Supporters Say…

“The staff at The Arts Center in Corvallis know about art’s curative powers. The center’s work since 2003 with cancer, dialysis and mental health patients at Samaritan Health Services hospitals has taken off, providing patients with a chance to make art, working with professional artists to enjoy live music in the hospital and to participate in creative writing programs.”

The Oregon Arts Commission
The Oregon Arts Commission

“I took bits and pieces of broken scraps of clay and formed them into art – just like my life has been broken, I know it can once again be beautiful in a different way.”

Patient Participant

“This is the most important thing I’ve ever done.”

Newport, OR

Get Involved

To learn more about ArtsCare, contact Erin Gudge, ArtsCare program manager, at or 541-768-7138.

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