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Canadian artists called to contribute to new Vancouver children's hospital

Artists across the country have the chance to make an impression through one of the biggest projects of its kind.

The new eight-storey Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children's Hospital is hoping to brighten up their space with unique pieces of art.

According to the hospital, meaningful art in hospitals helps reduce anxiety in sick children by 75 per cent, so they’re calling on sculptors, painters, photographers and graphic artists to create 400 artworks to deck the halls.

There is 60,000 square feet of available space in the new hospital, which should be completed by late 2017.

<who> Photo Credit: BC Children's Hospital Foundation. Artists are urged to contact BC Children's Hospital Foundation by early May if they want to take part.

Artists can apply online along with a portfolio of their work. Once they have been selected they will be contracted to design work for specific areas of the new hospital.

They are looking for art with a message of hope and healing for patients, visitors and staff, including two- and three-dimensional artwork, oil, watercolour and acrylic paintings, limited-edition prints, giclee prints, mixed media art, glass, mosaics, sculpture, fabric art, collages, illustrations and photographs.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation is working with project consultant Annette Ridenour, who has 30 years of experience with this type of thing.

She will be taking direct input from clinical teams, patients and families.

The initiative has been created by a special committee, which is looking for artists from all over the country, with many from British Columbia and Yukon.

The committee will review submissions and gather feedback on submitted art from hospital patients and their families.

To apply, artists should visit the project’s website.

Vancouver artist Tiko Kerr, who has provided art to BC Children's Hospital, said it can help children in many ways.

"Children are born creators. Providing them with such a momentous program as the Children's Healing Experience Project is guaranteed to have incredible, far-reaching benefits," said Kerr. "It can activate surprise, hope and opportunities to see greater possibilities."

Construction started on the new hospital in the fall, after $200-million was raised by BC Children's Hospital Foundation. Walls are almost ready to go up on the Teck Acute Care Centre, and art will start to adorn the walls late next summer.

Crystal Nguyen, 16, was in the hospital for several years for cancer treatment. She was diagnosed with leukemia at 11, and eventually fell into a month-long coma.

Finally, she had a bone marrow transplant, and was in long-term isolation to protect her immune system.

"The walls were white, but it was a kind of ugly white because of where I was and what I had to do," said Nguyen.

Nguyen is now cancer free and said the art initiative is a great way to brighten the recovery of people in the hospital long-term like she was, including many of the almost 250,000 patients that visited the hospital last year.

So far, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, Royal BC Museum and H.R. MacMillian Space Centre have offered to help.

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