Artwork can often be found lining hospital walls across Washington State, making the environment more soothing for patients and helping them on the road to recovery. A recent exhibit at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham offered a unique perspective that patients and visitors may not have expected.
Last summer, the medical center teamed up with nonprofit community partner Northwest Youth Services to provide disposable cameras to 50 at-risk or homeless youth in the community, allowing them to share their daily experiences through photography. The film was developed, and a collection of more than 20 of the photos were hung in one of the hospital’s busiest locations: between its entryway and cafeteria.
For several weeks, the photos took viewers on a journey through Bellingham, showing both lighthearted moments (such as a photo of city-goers dressed in costume) but also moments that depict the realities of experiencing homelessness. Viewers had an opportunity to vote on their favorite pieces, and the photographers were then honored for their work. The pieces were also auctioned in support of Northwest Youth Services.
The exhibition was part of the medical center’s series “Healing Through Art,” which brings local artwork to the hospital that reflects the landscape and culture of the Pacific Northwest. It was the latest installment of the partnership between PeaceHealth St. Joseph and Northwest Youth Services, as the medical center had previously supported a local housing initiative for Northwest Youth Services.