Stories of HopeSoft Spot for Spring

Posted on: Mar 31, 2016

With the first day of spring upon us "Soft Spot" continues to draw attention with a year round nod to spring at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.

Perhaps the most obvious and recognizable piece of art in the over 700 piece collection at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women is the nest of stainless steel ribbon perched on a solid steel construction beam in the courtyard just outside the hospital's main entrance. 

The art piece is the work of award-winning Canadian artists Liz Magor and Wendy Coburn and titled "Soft Spot". 

Though the piece is a definite standout for anyone who tours or visits the hospital many are unaware of its meaning.  

"Soft Spot is meant to represent the sentiment that life will find a way to thrive in any environment" explains Sharlene Rutherford, Vice President, Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. "Even on the unnatural arm of a steel construction beam nature will find a way to create life."

In an article published in the Wall Street Journal in August 2014 Laura Landro states "Researchers are learning more about the precise ways paintings and other works of art help patients and families in the healing process. With studies showing a direct link between the content of images and the brain's reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, hospitals are considering and choosing artworks based on the evidence and giving it a higher priority than merely decoration for sterile rooms and corridors."

It was research like that to which Landro was referring that led the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation to the decision that art had to be an integral part of the design when the planning for the now five year old Lois Hole Hospital for Women. 

Valued at more than $1 million the hospital's art collection was selected with expert guidance from local art consultant Susan Pointe. All of the works of art are Canadian, many of them from Alberta and the remainder sourced through artists from the surrounding provinces that the hospital serves.  

"This project is evidence of a flourishing creative spirit. It is original, local artwork. And if it isn't local, it is from other regions where we draw patients. It is evidence of the thriving creative community that is around the facility."