Initiated by a generous long-term loan of over 100 works of Modern Irish Art by John and Patricia Hunt, Galway University Hospitals set up an Arts Committee in early 2003 to develop an arts programme for University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital. The Arts Committee evolved into Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust, officially established as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status in 2007. With the creation of Saolta University Health Care Group in 2015 we became the dedicated arts service for the largest geographic hospital group in Ireland, providing an outreach service to our sister hospitals since 2016. Relaunching as Saolta Arts in 2019, we support arts programming at seven hospital sites: Mayo University Hospital, Roscommon University Hospital, Portiuncula University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital and Letterkenny University Hospital.
Mission / Aims
Saolta Arts runs the west of Ireland’s leading Arts and Health programme as a means of improving the hospital experience for patients, staff and visitors. We believe that access to the arts promotes wellbeing and enhances the hospital environment. It encourages new ways of seeing and fresh dialogue – making the hospital a place of possibilities.
Areas of activities
We work with leading artists and international arts festivals to bring high-quality arts experiences to the hospital community. Our multi-disciplinary programme of events and activities includes exhibitions, music, theatre, and poetry. We also work with our hospital colleagues to improve the physical environment through public art and integrated artworks. Our established participatory arts programme has allowed people of all ages to explore their creative potential. For patients, this can be the important reintroduction of choice and can help them to re-evaluate their abilities in the face of change. Participants find a more positive, productive use of their time in hospital, engaged in a way that distracts from worries and “makes time fly”.
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