Hospital Art originated in the United States of America. A team led by Mr John Feight came to Australia at the invitation of the Friendship Force on the Central Coast, New South Wales. They brought with them all the materials to paint. The Central Coast’s Mrs Pat de Carle had been inspired to invite the group after viewing a video in the previous year, on America’s Hospital Art program.
On 3rd July 1999, the visitor’s introduced Hospital Art in the form of a Paintfest at Gosford Hospital. Local people, including the then Mayor of Gosford Chris Holstein, joined with able patients and staff to paint pictures on the walls, ceilings and on canvases to brighten up the hospital. Two days later, the Radiation Oncology Unity of Sydney’s St Vincent Hospital underwent a similar transformation.
Following the success of the Paintfests, Mrs de Carle and a small band of supporters formed Hospital Art Australia Inc.
Subsequently, increasing numbers of requests for Hospital Art from nursing homes and other places with long-term residents, led to concentration on the provision of canvases for painting combined with off-site completion as required, with return of paintings for hanging where they could be seen by those who had previously painted them.
Over time, Australia’s Hospital Art program has adapted in accordance with community needs. Hospital Art has spread to areas throughout New South Wales and Queensland where paintings can be seen in over 150 facilities. Paintings also hang in 13 major hospitals in New South Wales.