"We were determined to do something unique that reflected the innovative, laboratory-like DNA of Hopkins. We wanted to give people who spend a lot of time in a hospital things to think about and places to go in their imagination."
Bolger thinks that they succeeded.
"They engaged wonderful artists and did something perfect for that setting," she says.
"When I walked around that lobby, I saw fantastic pieces that were so environmental: yellow puffer fish, mother and baby animals. The art isn't an afterthought. It's an integral part of the whole experience."
Securing hospital art
Envisage this: you're carrying a cup of coffee down a hospital corridor and slip on a recently mopped floor. The scalding brown liquid splashes skyward, striking the surface of a nearby print hanging on the wall. Oops — there goes the Lichtenstein.
"Hospitals are tough places for art," says Elaine Sims, who directs the Gifts of Art program for the University of Michigan Health Systems.
"People are sick, and they fall over. We have big, heavy pieces of equipment that have to be moved. Security is always a concern."
Medical centers can't employ the standard measures for safeguarding art used by museums, such as controlling for temperature and humidity, banning food and drink and hiring security guards. There are no systems that sound an alarm if a visitor leans in too close.
Instead, Sims said, most museums bolt their valuables onto the walls or inside cases with a three-part locking system that uses tamper-proof screws. Hospitals also invest in an expensive process called "glazing" in which a thin layer of museum-quality glass is fitted over the print or painting to protect it from both ultraviolet rays and unintentional damage caused by a ding from a gurney, or squirting ketchup.
"We don't want something of value to be knocked or nudged or fly off the wall, so we take precautions," Sims says." In the 25 years that we've had our program, we've had very little damage to any of our works of art."