An art gallery has breathed new life into a Lister Hospital corridor, providing a space for community artists to display their work for “all to enjoy”.
Back in 2017, colleagues Joan Lomas and Dr Sagen Zav-Varghese were discussing health and art at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust’s annual general meeting when they came up with the idea for a gallery at the Stevenage hospital.
Now – after joining forces with artists Dagmar Louw and Alison Burton, who also work for the trust at Lister – that dream has become reality.
Situated in what is known to NHS staff as the pink corridor – connecting the main hospital corridor with Lister’s Diamond Jubilee Maternity Unit – the gallery provides an opportunity for artists from the surrounding community to display their work for patients and staff alike to enjoy.
The space has been transformed thanks to funding from the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity, with Bob Niven – chair of the charity’s trustees committee – cutting the ribbon and unveiling a special plaque to declare it open.
Speaking at the small ceremony, Mr Niven, who is also a non-executive director of the NHS trust’s board, said: “Sculptor Henry Moore says to be an artist is to believe in life, and a hospital is about preserving and enhancing life – so it is a perfect combination. The exhibits are wonderful.”
Currently seven artists have their work on display in the gallery, including clinical nurse specialist Dagmar and patient flow co-ordinator Alison.
“Art and health are inextricably linked, so we are tremendously pleased to have made this hospital space available for artists to share their creativity with everyone,” said Dagmar.
“Our LIFE Gallery is here for all to enjoy, so please take a look if you are at the hospital and get in touch if you are interested in having your artwork featured.”
The gallery – where LIFE stands for ‘Lister initiative for the enhancement of the environment’ – is one of a number of projects under the trust’s wider Artlife initiative, which has seen colourful art and design transform hospital spaces.
Artists can have their work on display at The LIFE Gallery for a small fee, with Artlife receiving 20 per cent commission on sales – which will be used to fund future projects.