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Pediatric Art Preferences in Healthcare Settings

Art has been an integral part of healthcare settings for centuries, with a rich history of installations in hospitals. While its therapeutic effects on individual well-being are widely recognized, understanding the nuances of art preferences in pediatric healthcare settings is crucial. By examining the art choices and styles that resonate with young patients, we can create a more supportive and healing environment.


The Diverse Landscape of Art in Healthcare


Art in healthcare environments is incredibly diverse, ranging from commissioned works by individual artists to comprehensive graphic treatments that extend across entire hospitals. The crucial question is how these different approaches to art impact the well-being and preferences of pediatric patients.


Pediatric Patients Diverse Art Style Preferences


To gain deeper insights into the art preferences of pediatric patients, we turn to a study conducted at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. This study aimed to answer two fundamental questions:


1. Do pediatric patients of different age groups share similar art preferences?

2. What drives the art preferences of pediatric patients?


The study featured a selection of 20 art images, carefully categorized into three distinct styles: realistic, representational, and non-representational. These categories allowed researchers to explore the various artistic styles that pediatric patients found most appealing.


Realistic Images:

These images realistically depict scenes from the world around us, featuring photographs of neighborhoods, waterfalls, children, and deer. Realistic paintings, such as those of trees and gardens, were also included in this category.

a realistic painting of sunflowers in a field with a stormy sky above


Representational Images:

Representational images use artistic styles and renditions to depict real-world content. They featured animated castles, landscapes, rainbows, families, houses, fish, goats, turtles, and bears. In addition, child art of a wall and a swing, along with abstract images of handprints, flowers, and animals, were part of this category.


a green sea turtle painting on canvas with vibrant sea coral background.

Non-Representational Images:

Non-representational images are abstract and don't depict real-life subject matter. This category included abstract art such as Gris.


three abstract canvas art that consists of geometrical shapes

The study findings unveiled important insights into the art preferences of pediatric patients. The existing art on the hospital walls received consistently positive ratings. Younger children, in particular, reported higher emotional ratings. Surprisingly, while many patients expressed a desire to replace the existing artwork, the majority found that it made them feel better.


Pediatric Art: Nature-Themes Strike a Chord


Certain themes emerged as particularly resonant with pediatric patients, eliciting the most positive emotional ratings across all age groups. These themes primarily revolved around nature and vibrant colors. Specific images that resonated deeply with pediatric patients included:


Castle with Woods: An animated castle with lush woods.

Rainbow: A vibrant representation of this natural wonder.

Waterfall: A serene depiction of a waterfall in a natural setting.

Fish Underwater: An underwater scene featuring colorful fish.

Deer in the Field: A peaceful image of a deer in a natural setting.

Flowers: A colorful bouquet of vibrant flowers.


The study highlighted the exceptional value of children's art, as it indicated a child-friendly environment actively involving children in shaping their surroundings. In addition to nature-themed art, child art, characterized by the unique style of children, was particularly favored.


The research also suggests that bold and bright colors are preferred over pastel shades, with blue and green being especially liked. Art that resonates with familiar places, activities, or associations is also preferred. These associations can be critical in creating a positive and engaging hospital environment for pediatric patients.


Art in Pediatric Healthcare: Promoting Healing and Satisfaction


Understanding the intricate art preferences in pediatric healthcare settings is a dynamic process that involves exploring different styles and content. It serves as a source of entertainment, distraction, and engagement. Bright, colorful art contributes significantly to the well-being of pediatric patients. The art not only decorates the space but also helps the environment feel less clinical, fostering a positive experience. These findings help empower us to create environments that not only heal but also inspire and support the well-being of young patients.


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