Art displays enrich hospital life

Ponoka’s schools and Alberta Health Services are working together to bring joy and art into the lives of patients.

Don Letwinetz

Don Letwinetz

Ponoka’s schools and Alberta Health Services are working together to bring joy and art into the lives of patients.

On May 23 two Creative Connections display boards were unveiled in Ponoka; one at the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury and the other at the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre.

Creative Connections is a project to visually enhance the lives of patients and visitors that began at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre in June of 2006.

“Art is a very important part of our patient care here, and allows people of all ages to express themselves creatively. It is a welcome distraction for those coping with illness or injury in a hospital setting, and helps people to focus on positive subjects like beauty, courage, hope, strength, joy and humour that they find in the artwork and stories displayed,” said former co-ordinator Linda Davis.

Leanne Brusegard, volunteer resources coordinator at the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre, feels having the artwork on the walls will be a welcome distraction. “I think what it does, when you look at a picture it can make a person emotional, it can make you happy. I know for me personally, it can stop me dead in my tracks.

The displays feature artwork from St. Augustine School and Ponoka Christian School. Much of the artwork was also displayed at Ponoka’s national volunteer celebration, in late April.

“We thought it was a great thing to bring that artwork into our hospital. We shared it that night but now let’s share it with each other,” said Janice Mackie, co-ordinator of volunteer services at the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury.

Handmade kaleidoscope pictures served as the centrepiece of the displays. “The kaleidoscope of colour depicts our community coming together,’ said Don Letwinetz, community relations advisor for Encana, the project’s sponsor.

“It’s a very worthwhile program, not only for the patients of the hospital but for the visitors coming here,” said Letwinetz.

Encana works with the community through three channels: community enhancement, education and environment. Through the Creative Connections project they’re able to fulfill two channels at once.

‘We’re proud to be here and be a sponsor of such a program,” said Letwinetz. “Whenever you’re dealing with young people and education it’s very important.”