Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital hosts gallery talks and art tours on the second Tuesday of every month that are led by a docent from the Detroit Institute of Arts. The event is open to the community and features art like this piece, “Untitled,” by Jide Aje.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital hosts gallery talks and art tours on the second Tuesday of every month that are led by a docent from the Detroit Institute of Arts. The event is open to the community and features art like this piece, “Untitled,” by Jide Aje.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Hospital teams up with DIA to talk art

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 22, 2018

 Patients, family members, employees and community members are welcome to Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s gallery talks and art tours. The walking art tour features the art at the hospital, including this piece donated by artist Margaret E. Farratel.

Patients, family members, employees and community members are welcome to Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s gallery talks and art tours. The walking art tour features the art at the hospital, including this piece donated by artist Margaret E. Farratel.

Photo by Deb Jacques

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Art is a coping mechanism for many people. It can take a viewer to a different place, and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s Healing Arts program wants art to do that for its patients and visitors.

As part of the Healing Arts program, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital has teamed up with the Detroit Institute of Arts to teach people about art and to showcase art at the hospital.

Gallery talks and art tours are led by Carlene Van Voorhies, a DIA docent. Each talk focuses on one particular topic of art and is followed by a 45-minute walking art tour around the hospital. 

“I think it’s been well-proven that exposure to art makes you feel better,” Van Voorhies said. “We offer it to the whole community, not only (people at) the hospital.” 

Van Voorhies said she’s been a docent at the DIA for nine years, and she has been leading the gallery talks and art tours for about three years.

The gallery talk series looks at works of art that are part of the DIA’s permanent collection. Each installment of the monthly series features a different topic. 

Van Voorhies leads the art tours at 1 p.m., after the noon gallery talks.

Dr. Betty Chu, chair of the Healing Arts Committee at the hospital, said the hospital features Michigan artists in its galleries as much as possible, and most of the art displayed in the hospital is donated by local artists. Sometimes the hospital receives art as donations from patients or their families. 

“The idea is to try to help. … The biggest focus is for the hospital to try to reduce stress,” said Chu. “The thing we love about (art) is that it allows people who are worried or stressed a moment of peace and reflection. It takes them to another place.” 

The hospital’s Healing Arts program has been a part of hospital programming since 2009, when the first gallery space was opened at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. The program aims to provide a positive distraction to reduce pain, anxiety and stress, and it was established to create a calming environment for patients, visitors and staff. 

“As we focus and try to get people well from the medical perspective, the art just adds a humanity to the space and to the facility,” said Chu. “I think it takes people out of their pain and suffering for a few moments.” 

The program as a whole incorporates literary, performing and visual arts into events for the whole community.

The next gallery talk and art tour will be held Feb. 13 and will focus on women in photography. The events are held the second Tuesday of each month, and they are free and open to the public. 

For more information, visit www.henryford.com/locations/west-bloomfield.