Saolta Arts, formerly Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust, was officially launched on 6 August 2019 by Mrs Sabina Higgins at University Hospital Galway. The original arts programme was established in Galway University Hospitals (University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital) in 2003 to provide arts events and activities for the hospital community. Saolta Arts is the new name for the arts programme which has been extended to include the other hospitals in the Saolta Group – Roscommon, Portiuncula, Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny University Hospitals.
Saolta Arts works with leading artists and international arts festivals to bring high-quality arts experiences to the hospital community. The multi-disciplinary programme includes exhibitions, participative workshops, music, theatre and poetry making across the hospitals. The established participative arts programme is facilitated by professional artists who respect the parameters of the care context whilst supporting participants to reach their creative potential. Whether journeys of the imagination or a change of scene from the ward, a new way of working or a pastime rekindled, activities spark conversation with new friends and fresh dialogue with old ones.
‘There is growing recognition of the value and impact of the arts on health and wellbeing. For many years patients and staff at Galway University Hospitals have had access to and benefited from this. Saolta Arts will now bring the arts programme to all the hospitals in our Group which will enhance the hospital environment for patients, staff and visitors.‘ – Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operations Officer with the Saolta Group
‘I believe access to the arts promotes wellbeing and enhances the hospital environment, and I applaud this initiative which I believe has real and tangible benefits for hospital patients, making what is often a stressful and unpleasant event in one’s life more agreeable and humane. Through Saolta Arts, participating patients are offered an opportunity, where suitable, to make a more positive, productive use of their time in hospital.’ – Mrs Sabina Higgins