Meet the Artists Whose Work is on Display in the Mission Hospital North Tower (Videos)

robert-pearson-artist-asheville-mission-hospital-north-towerArt, Health and Community: A Dose of Inspired Healing

By Robert A. Poarch

Hospital art — we’ve all walked by them without much thought. That’s about to change.

Art in hospitals has been proven to contribute to healing, quicker recovery and comfort in a major way for patients. For the new Mission Hospital North Tower (MHNT), an ask was made for artists from the 13 counties the hospital serves for art emphasizing nature and healing. What came in might just inspire you to take a second — and possibly a third — look.

With more than 220 patient rooms and 40 public areas, there is plenty of opportunities to display the more than 650 pieces of commissioned art, which include paintings, photographs, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, encaustic, glass, metal and origami. Highlighting the great regional creatives, more than 150 talented local artists are showcased throughout MHNT’s rooms, halls and open areas.

Four contributing artists share their thoughts on how art, health and community intersect in this healing environment. Read what they have to say and watch their videos below.

Andrea Kulish — pysanky eggs

Why did you enter Mission’s call for artists?

I was excited at the idea of sharing pysanky with people at Mission Hospital.

Tell me about your piece for the hospital?

I’m creating a triptych of 27 pysanky eggs that will be framed. They all have symbols and colors that are wishes for good health, strength, long life and interconnectedness.

What do you hope people who see your art will feel?

I hope that the eggs will have a healing effect on people, as this is their purpose. I hope they will have fun looking at all the details and interpretations of the various symbols. I hope they feel happiness and joy seeing all the bright colors and good wishes.

Why is it important to have local artists represented?

It shows that Mission really cares about its patients and community, and that Mission cares very much to provide something truly special and unique to their patients and visitors, to uplift and enrich their stays at the hospital.

Joseph Pearson — oil paintings

Why did you enter Mission’s call for artists?

I believe in the power of art to enhance and change lives, because of the healing power of art, hopefully the art works its magic.

Tell me about your piece for the hospital?

For the first piece, the initial idea was to take the cracked, peeling paint of the building, which represents deterioration, and combine it with a young lady with a flower. Together, they speak to beauty. For the blues piece, I was born in Mississippi. I wanted to combine the environment and the history of the music.

What do you hope people who see your art will feel?

In terms of the meditativeness and the quietness of the pieces as a whole, I’m hoping the art is a part in the healing process when it’s hanging in the hospital. I’d like the painting to connect with quietness, and psychological and emotional peace.

Why is it important to have local artists represented?

It means that Mission Health is interested in supporting the community through the arts. Mission reaching out to working artists acknowledges that this is work. It helps draw the community closer together, because they will get to know some of us through our work.

Joshua Adams — wooden masks

Why did you enter Mission’s call for artists?

Someone at the hospital saw my Cherokee masks on the internet, and they approached me to do a set of seven clan masks. Normally, you don’t get to do all seven, because they’re a sacred thing. You have to do them for an entity or a hospital or a clan house or a council house. So, to get to do these is very special to me and an honor.

Tell me about your piece for the hospital?

The order that you carve them in dictates their power. Since these are for the hospital, we’re starting with the Blue Clan mask, which is associated with medicine. On the wall, this will be in the center, because that’s where the most strength is. Then you dictate out from there.

What do you hope people who see your art will feel?

Cherokee’s believe that masks are super strong, spiritually. These are supposed to go in the pediatric ward, and I want to convey strength as patients are going through their hardships. I hope we help a lot of people with these masks.

Why is it important to have local artists represented?

The hospital is on old Cherokee territory. This was our home for thousands of years. It’s an honor to get to be a part of the hospital.

Becca Joy — acrylic painting

Why did you enter Mission’s call for artists?

As an art therapist it felt natural for me to share my art in a healing environment. I liked the idea that my artwork, and arguably an extension of myself, could provide comfort to someone amidst the pain and fear that can accompany hospital stays.

Tell me about your piece for the hospital?

“Calling Me Home” is based on a painting I made when I was living in Florida and missing the western North Carolina mountains I grew up in.

What do you hope people who see your art will feel?

I want them to feel hopeful. My hope is that it will bring serenity to the space and to the viewers, and that people will look at it and see the magic of the journey rather than the challenges of climbing life’s mountains — often life’s struggles are met with spectacular views when we reach the top.

Why is it important to have local artists represented?

It’s very personal to involve the community this way, and reminds us that even with the changes happening in our community, the things that connect us really are the most important.


The Mission Hospital North Tower is now open for patient care. Learn more at missionhealth.org/northtower [1].