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Art - an essential piece of the Lachine Hospital modernization project

Improving the patient experience is a priority for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Studies indicate that a more welcoming environment promotes health and wellbeing. The MUHC Art and Heritage Centre is responsible for preserving and highlighting existing artefacts and art collections in dedicated exhibition spaces to help create a healing environment. 

Quebec law requires art integration

The Politique d’intégration des arts à l’architecture et à l’environnement des bâtiments et des sites gouvernementaux et publics, more commonly known as the 1% Policy, is unique to Quebec. The law requires that one percent of government-funded budgets be dedicated to acquiring works of art. The Lachine modernization project is no exception. “There are similar rules across Canada, but in other provinces, the funds can go to artwork or, more often, to landscaping,” notes Alexandra Kirsh, curator of the Art and Heritage Centre of the MUHC. 

The intricate selection process behind acquiring artwork 
A small team of employees, community members as well as patient and unit representatives were tasked with defining the artwork that will eventually be housed at Lachine.

The acquisition of the artwork is a long and measured collaborative effort between the MUHC and Ministry of Culture and Communications, with representatives from the artistic and cultural community. 

“We were inspired by the neighbouring park and sculptures on site so we are thinking of creating a sculpture garden,” says Alexandra who adds that the exact location of the new piece is not yet determined. The selection process can take a year or more. Eligible artists will be able to submit proposals to the government. Special attention will be paid to art deemed representative of the Lachine community. 

The design, architecture and how the artwork meets the needs of the medical teams and patients are considered by the Art and Heritage Centre during the selection process.

“Art should inspire and capture our attention, but it also can’t stop traffic in a busy hallway,” says Alexandra who works with project managers to inspect the blueprints and identify suitable areas to place artwork.

Telling the history of the Lachine Hospital through its artefacts

The distinct history of the Lachine Hospital will be on display through exhibitions. The Art and Heritage Centre will work alongside Document Management Services to wade through boxes of material and documents to find the perfect examples that can tell the story of the hospital. “We’re also looking for anything that represents the Lachine Hospital. Humanizing the legacy of this historical building will be done thanks to many different objects and stories,” says Alexandra.

If you have any stories, objects or photographs to share, please contact the Art and Heritage Centre: [email protected]

A truck and its driver in front of the St-Joseph Hospital, 1939. MUHC Permanent Archives Centre, 2014-0018.04.57. 
A truck and its driver in front of the St-Joseph Hospital, 1939. MUHC Permanent Archives Centre, 2014-0018.04.57. 
Graduation photo from the School of Nursing, 1962-1964. MUHC Permanent Archives Centre, 2014-0018.04.302.
Graduation photo from the School of Nursing, 1962-1964. MUHC Permanent Archives Centre, 2014-0018.04.302.
The "5" Saints Joseph,1987. MUHC Permanent Archives Centre, 2014-0018.04.114.
The "5" Saints Joseph,1987. MUHC Permanent Archives Centre, 2014-0018.04.114. 

 

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