The Design Challenge

Behavioral healthcare facilities are designed to assure the well-being of their patients, and to safeguard them from potential self-harm. Art installations present a unique challenge. While proven to be essential to creating holistically therapeutic environments that promote feelings of safety, security, and wellness, the physical characteristics of traditional art installations can create potential opportunities and materials for self-harm.

The Impact

While it might be tempting to decide an art installation isn’t worth the trouble, there is a tremendous body of research that provides compelling evidence that art is essential to driving successful behavioral health programs. For example:

  • Each person has an average of 60,000 thoughts per day, with 95% of them being the same thoughts repeated every day.[1]
  • The human brain is, thanks to evolutionary survival needs, wired so that negative experiences are ‘stickier’. We perceive negative things as impacting us more strongly, and we instinctively hold on to negative memories and thoughts for longer and more prominently.[2]
  • Viewing art triggers a surge of dopamine into the orbito-frontal cortex of the brain. This combination is known to be involved in feelings of desire, affection, and pleasure.[3]
  • Viewing art has also been shown to be able to disrupt negative thought cycles by distracting the viewer and allowing them to refocus their perception on an alternative.[4]

Art installations are able to make significant contributions to behavioral health programs by helping patients to be more mindful, while also helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and cognitive struggles, and increasing feelings of well-being and pleasure.

The Solution

Great American Art has developed a number of solutions specifically designed to meet the stringent federal guidelines and requirements. From the materials used, to a frame’s profile, to installation – every aspect of a piece of artwork has been designed to allow Behavioral Healthcare providers the ability to nurture a patient’s emotional and mental wellness through an impactful art program, while also helping them protect their patients’ physical well-being.

Design Recommendations

In addition to framed and acrylic art, vinyl wallcoverings, ceiling and window films, and customizable vinyl wall adhesives are also available, and easy to maintain. When vinyl products are used, it is recommended to cover them with a clear sealer to both protect the artwork and restrict access to it.

Product Specifications

Every Great American Art product is 100% American-made, and manufactured with premium materials designed for long-term art installations. Products designated for Behavioral Healthcare comply with federal specifications and guidelines for artwork use within the Behavioral Healthcare setting. All artwork is giclée printed.