Healing Through Art

When most people imagine the inside of a hospital, they picture plain white walls. For the new Sanford Medical Center Fargo, this is far from the case. With help from over 30 local artists, nearly 1,700 pieces of artwork have been installed throughout the hospital – everywhere from patient rooms to employee spaces. The art committee recommended calming visuals that would evoke comfort and healing. Some of these were local landmarks and places they hoped would evoke memories and spark conversations.

The purpose of the art was to create a “positive distraction.” The placement of the art, like many other features of the hospital, was designed for healing. Many of the pieces incorporate peaceful nature settings or joyful events.


Some notable pieces around the hospital include photographs from Elias Harris, a 13-year old whose photographs were selected from a large pool of local photographers. Elias captures many photos of nature as well as scenes of his younger sisters playing. One of his photos, located on the ninth floor of the hospital, was even selected for Kid’s National Geographic.



Another artist who has multiple photographs in the new medical center is Meg Spielman Peldo. Meg’s work can be found on the tenth floor, better known as the Family Birth Center. Her photographs of babies surrounded by natural objects are found throughout the floor and are usually accompanies by loud “Awwwwws!” from visitors. Meg also has still life images printed on canvas throughout the top floor.



Though all artists are from the area, Jack Crary knows Sanford on a whole different level. A retired Sanford physician, Jack is now pursuing a passion for photography. He is inspired by water settings, and many of his images are captured from him wading into the water and taking photos of objects floating by.



Photography is not the only art form that occupies the hospital. Different mediums such as watercolor, acrylic, mosaics, fiber, and woven tapestries can be found throughout the entire building. Many of these unique pieces are strategically placed by elevators as a method of wayfinding for visitors. By recognizing these unique pieces, visitors will be able to remember where to enter and exit.

“We really wanted art to be something people could kind of lose themselves in and really help them pass the time and find some comfort in where they are at,” explained Roberta Young, Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services of Sanford in Fargo.

Whether the art be used for healing, wayfinding, passing the time, or simple enjoyment, Sanford is thankful for the artists and donors who helped to change visitors’ visions of a hospital from plain white walls to something much more beautiful.