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Art Wellness Project Underway at Highland

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sarah Rutherford and Lea Rizzo paint the stairwell.

Highland Hospital has launched a project that combines art with exercise. Two local artists are painting murals in a seven-flight stairwell as part of a hospital wellness project, “Art Takes Flight for Your Health.” The goal is to make one of the most-used stairwells more inviting for walkers, including employees, physicians and visitors. “This stairwell is becoming a vertical art gallery,” said Ashish Boghani, M.D., Chief Hospitalist at Highland, who came up with the idea for the project. Dr. Boghani has climbed the stairs at the hospital for the past eight years to get exercise while rounding on patients.

“Incorporating exercise into daily life keeps you healthy, and it saves time – you don’t necessarily have to go to the gym when you get home from work if you are climbing stairs throughout the day,” he said. Interventional Radiologist Ian Wilson, M.D., who leads a public art program called Wall Therapy, recruited two local artists – Lea Rizzo and Sarah Rutherford – to design and paint the stairwell murals. Once complete, the murals will depict a story centered on the circle of life, incorporating elements seen around the hospital and the city.

“Art enhances everyday life,” Dr. Wilson said. “For employees in particular, I hope the stairwell will be a place they can go on break to ponder or be inspired. It’s a way of being well at work.” The project is being funded by donations made through the Highland Foundation. Several physicians have made contributions. The project is expected to be complete by December.

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