A community barn-raising

VMC leaders understood that art and interactive exhibits in a hospital setting not only improve patient outcomes but also provide a healing environment that supports the families and friends who share the space with patients. So when plans were first hatched for a Women and Children’s Center, VMC knew that finding the right creative partner would be essential to the project’s long-term success. Enter Silicon Valley Creates.

SV Creates, the regional hub for arts and cultural organizations, is taking an unique ‘community barnraising’ approach to the Women and Children’s Center. What does a ‘barnraising’ in this technology driven valley mean? This collaborative approach is inclusive of many stakeholders and invites them to partner by sharing their knowledge and resources. It’s a unique opportunity to showcase the assets in the community, create a shared model and most importantly transform the Women & Children’s Center at VMC with art, interactive exhibits and healing spaces.

SV Creates has a deep knowledge of local art organizations and cultural institutions, allowing VMC to harness and strategically unleash their expertise and assets. Ensuring that the diversity of this region is also celebrated is an important component of the plan. SV Creates have begun exploring the possibilities with over 15 partners. Some notable examples are the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Children’s Discovery Museum, the Tech Museum, the Quilt Museum, the Palo Alto Junior Zoo, the Palo Alto Art Center, Happy Hollow Zoo and the School of Arts & culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza.

‘Barnraising’ brings the community together, working towards a common goal. These partnerships lead to new ways of thinking and novel pathways to creating a culture of collaboration.

This project also serves participating artists and cultural institutions by demonstrating their value to the healing process, showcasing their designs and artworks, and connecting them to this community in a meaningful way. Strengthening the cultural and creative ecosystem is a wonderful by-product of the community barnraising approach. Building engagement and creating awareness within all sections of their community is a bonus for the partner organizations.

Project leaders also want our community to have a sense of pride and ownership for the rich and diverse arts organizations and cultural institutions in the area. Showcasing these assets in a hospital where they may be least expected allows for all sections of our economically diverse community to have access and the ability to appreciate the art and interactive exhibits these organizations are known for.

So whether it be the a vintage exhibit on loan from Happy Hollow Zoo or an interactive digital installation from the Tech Museum each and every art installation or interactive exhibit will engage, distract and reduce stress for the patients and their families at the new Women & Children’s Center at VMC. And along the way if new partnerships are forged, the cultural ecosystem is strengthened and this community feels a sense of pride – then more power to the ‘barnraising’!