Throughout the pandemic, the groundswell of support for the NHS that we have witnessed, came to be symbolised by the rainbows that have filled our streets. We wanted to hold on to this image of hope and positivity. So as part of the Arts Programme for the Grange, which aims to enhance the emotional well-being of patients, visitors, staff and the wider community, we launched the Rainbow Commission: Engagement Project.
Members of the public were invited to submit their rainbow pictures to Studio Response, the Grange Arts Programme’s curators. We received over 250 wonderful rainbows from across Gwent and further afield, from artists young and old. We were delighted that our colleagues from the Royal Gwent Hospital and Nevill Hall hospital took part, along with many local schools and nurseries. Many of these rainbows have been incorporated into large artworks that will take pride of place in the main stairwells at the Grange University Hospital. All the rainbows we received are also featured in a dedicated keepsake booklet to also include many positive messages of support and hope.
As well as all the wonderful art that we have commissioned for the Grange, the health board is continuing to encourage and apply arts as a powerful means of supporting health and wellbeing across all our services in Gwent. As part of this ongoing strategy we have recently secured £35K funding from Ylab (Cardiff University & NESTA) to support a wide programme of arts and health activities for 21/22. The successful bid was co-authored by Sarah Goodey (Arts Development Manager) and Eleanor Davis (Arts In Health Project Manager, Families and Therapies) and proposes a range of projects with a focus on areas such as bereavement, working with mental health services, community psychology and supporting staff welling. We also intend to support a health board-wide creative network where regular presentations about our current and future arts, health and wellbeing work can be shared.