The Art Institute works with with many local organizations, but one of the recent partnerships we're most proud of is our collaboration with the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. The hospital is slated to open in River North on June 9, but we—along with 20 other cultural institutions—have been working with them for the last four years to create more inviting environments for the future patients of the hospital.
Each partner institution was given real estate on a hospital floor and the Art Institute received space within the outpatient clinic on the third floor. Led by museum educator Mary Erbach, a team comprised of Art Institute employees and members of the Woman's Board conceptualized themed spaces that will delight and engage visitors as they wait for an appointment.
When arriving on the floor, visitors will be greeted by a replica of one of the museum's lions, standing guard just as it does in front of the museum. In the nature-themed waiting room, a gigantic mural of Art Institute favorite A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884 (see above) runs along a wall. When kids wait in this room, they'll receive an activity sheet with a number of things to find in the painting to more quickly pass the time.
Within the same waiting room are also images of Art Institute paintings like van Gogh's The Poet's Gardenpaired with drawings made by kids who were inspired by the original. A final component of the waiting areas are small dioramas made by local artists. One of my favorites was a miniature bedroom—complete with a tiny robe, bed posts made of pencils, and stamp "paintings" on the wall—appropriately made for the sleep clinic. And running along several of the hallways are long panels that include reproductions of the Art Institute's artworks. These panels are at a more kid-friendly height and also are themed, with the version including families from across the collection below.
As the hospital will not be open to the public, hopefully you will never have the occasion to see these works in person. But we hope they do make the experience of the kids who do have to spend time there a little more relaxing.