When artists deck out hospital rooms and gowns, patients feel better

Local artists have been transforming hospital robes from drab to fab to raise money to convert sterile treatment rooms into places of comfort and joy.

Vanessa Toews and Vivian Lee put their skills to good use for The Gowns Without Bounds fundraiser hosted by Art á la Carte on Oct. 18 at the Festival Hall in Inglewood. The artists turned regular hospital robes into works of art to be auctioned off at a fun and laid back fashion show.

“Art is a really great way to express yourself and I definitely think that people who are going through a tough time really do need that,” Lee said about the cause that Art á la Carte is fostering.

The second annual Art á la Carte fundraiser raises money to bring pieces of art into sterile treatment rooms for long-term hospital patients. The goal is to promote a sense of happiness and relaxation to the patients by surrounding them with beautiful pictures of things they love.

This has been the second year that Art á la Carte has put on the Gowns Without Bounds fundraiser. This year the designers worked with hospital robes, but in the past they were supplied with actual hospital gowns.

Model struts down the runway Oct. 18 in Vivian Lee’s design. Lee’s design was inspired by a fresh bouquet of flowers. Courtesy of Anet Hershey-Forbes.To see an art community sort of rally to perpetuate … art in hospitals and for everyone…it was really beautiful, and it seemed like people were really generous,” Toews said about the show.

The designers were given a simple guideline of comfort, beauty, and joy to follow when designing the robes. Toews helped her students from the In-Definite Arts Society design a robe inspired from a flower garden in bloom.

Lee was also inspired by the beauty of flowers and designed a fresh, white robe detailed with flowers. These artists volunteered their time to create beautiful robes to help reach the fundraiser’s goal of $30,000.

“I thought beauty, comfort, and joy, what are some things that kind of give me those feelings? And for me it’s the simple things…like getting a fresh bouquet of flowers…so that’s kind of where I went,” said Lee.

The event was held at Festival Hall in Inglewood where art pieces from local artists lined the walls for attendees to bid on in a silent auction. The guests were entertained by the fashion show and live auction of some of the most elaborate robes. Appetizers and drinks were also passed around for attendees to enjoy.

The artists are looking forward to next year’s show and hoping more people put their artistic abilities to good use to continue to help bring some pieces that inspire elation and hope in long-term patients of Calgary’s hospitals.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Anet Hershey-Forbes

sdechant@cjournal.ca

The editor responisble for this story is Melanie Walsh, mwalsh@cjournal.ca