Healing Arts

About TMC

TMC’s Center for Healing Arts presents outstanding visual, performance, and communicative art to promote healing and uplift the spirit of all who enter Truman Medical Centers.

Our Healing Arts program incorporates visual, performance, and other art forms throughout the hospital as a means of learning, expression and healing for patients, visitors and employees. The program strives to improve patient experience and outcomes and to encourage a broader understanding of cultural diversity in health and illness.

Healing Arts Collection

A variety of fine art from local, national, and international artists makes up the Healing Arts collection. Art is on display in patient areas throughout the hospital and is meant to provide a pleasing atmosphere for patients, visitors and employees. Further information on selected works from the collection can be accessed from the audio tour or by cell phone. Look for labels displaying the audio icon or visit TMC Guest Services to learn more.

Made Possible by Generous Donors

Approximately 50 percent of the art on display at TMC has been loaned by individuals or organizations. Of the works of art in the hospital’s permanent collection, 50 percent were given as gifts and 50 percent are purchases from funds provided by generous donors. No hospital operating funds are used to purchase art.


A Brief History of Art in Healing

The use of art in western medical treatment was first implemented in Greek healing temples, which incorporated art, music, and landscape to create a holistic environment in which ailments were treated. In the 14th century, hospitals were operated by churches, which used paintings, frescoes and other mediums to communicate their teachings. Florence Nightingale’s Notes for Nursing, written in 1860, argues that patients require beauty and its effect is not only on the mind, but also on the body. During the Depression, the Federal Art Project employed artists to paint murals in government hospitals. During the 1980s, hospitals began to use art as decorative elements with no particular attention to its therapeutic qualities. The early 1990s brought a newfound interest in the therapeutic qualities of art, resulting in a surge in evidence-based design, which studies the effect of the environment on healing.

According to The Center for Health Design, nearly 50 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. today have arts programs, and according to respondents of a 2003 survey, 96 percent of hospital arts programs are intended to “serve patients directly.” Fifty-five percent of the programs surveyed also present art to hospital staff as a way to reduce stress and improve patient care.

“John Bluford and Truman Medical Centers have shown great vision and leadership with the Center for the Healing Arts. Lifting the human spirit is one of the most important roles that art can play, and I can think of no better location for there to be great art than in the healing atmosphere of TMC.”

- - Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director & CEO, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art


“TMC is on the vanguard of an important trend in holistic healing. I pray that hospitals worldwide will come to recognize that healing is not just limited to the time spent in ICU, or on the operating table. Healing involves the entire environment and all of our senses.”

- - Christopher Radko, collector and donor to the TMC Healing Arts program


Experiencing the Arts Directly Influences Healing

  • A 1993 survey found that patients viewing nature scenes after heart surgery reported less anxiety and stress and needed less pain medication than those in control groups.
  • Research in 2001 revealed that trauma and orthopedics patients who were exposed to visual arts and live music had shorter stays and needed significantly less pain relief than patients in control groups.

Excerpted from Kathy Hathorn and Upali Nanda, “A Guide to Evidence-based Art,” © The Center for Health Design 2008

Tours & Events

Self-guided audio and cell phone tours of the Healing Arts Galleries are available in the Guest Services offices at TMC-Health Sciences District.

TMC offers guided tours for groups, organizations and clubs. To schedule a tour for your group, please contact TMC Guest Services at 816-404-3325. 

Hallway Aha Bench
Hallway Blossom
Hallway Bojador
Hallway Cerner
Hallway Daisy
Hallway Diabetes
Hallway Flowers
Hallway Hands
Hallway Installation
Hallway Kevin Sink
Hallway Merciful
Hallway Mural
Hallway Nebula
Hallway Paola
Hallway Sonie Ruffin
Hallway Storyclothes






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