Campbell River Arts Council Executive Director Ken Blackburn announces the launch of the Art in the Campbell River Hospital Fund in front of the Gathering Place at the hospital. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Fund launched to get more art in the Campbell River Hospital

Hospital wants to ‘reflect the community its in,’ and art is a way to do that, site director says

“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” says Ken Blackburn, executive director of the Campbell River Arts Council, “It’s been five, six, seven years to get to this point, and I’m extremely happy to say we’ve got a system in place now to get more art into the hospital.”

Blackburn was speaking to a lobby full of supporters at the new Campbell River Hospital during the launch of the new Campbell River Hospital Art Fund, a partnership between the arts council and the Campbell River Hospital Foundation – which will oversee the fund – that sets aside money for local art to be installed in the facility.

“Whether you’re here as a patient, as a family member, as a visitor, as a neighbour, a doctor, a nurse, an administrator, a custodian, it takes a vast range of people to make a hospital and deliver quality health care,” Blackburn says. “We’re hoping to create an atmosphere in the hospital that reflects that community compassion and inclusiveness – that you are not separate from the community when you are in this facility – and the arts have become increasingly acknowledged as having a very dynamic role to play in creating that environment and that context that we find ourselves in, whether that’s the joy of welcoming a new baby or the sadness and mourning that comes with losing a friend or family member.”

“We’re working very hard here at the Campbell River Hospital to really reflect the community it’s in,” agrees hospital site director Chris Rozema. “In Island Health it’s referred to as a community hospital because of its size, but I think being a community hospital is more about the people than about the size. I want it to reflect the community and have people walk in here and feel like they belong here. It’s always a very stressful place to be – whether that’s a good stress or a bad stress – and if we can, in any way, work to alleviate that stress on people and make them feel more comfortable, that goes a long way in providing health care in the broadest sense of the word. I’m very excited that the Art Fund is up and running and we’ll be looking at what we can do to increase the amount of art here.”

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Campbell River Hospital Foundation executive director Stacey Marsh says she’s happy to have been able to help facilitate the launch of the fund.

“We know that art helps the soul and the healing process and it’s an honour to be involved in this,” Marsh says, before introducing author Jennifer Butler, who was on hand signing copies of her new book, Boom & Bust: The Resilient Women of Historic Telegraph Cove.

Butler presented the first cheque to seed the fund that night.

“I wanted the book to have a legacy beyond the stories it’s telling of the pioneering women, which aren’t told as often as the stories of pioneering men,” Butler says. “So I wanted to donate the royalties from the book to two charities that support women and children: the Transition Society and the Hospital Foundation.”

You, too, can get involved in helping the foundation raise money for art to go into the hospital by donating to the fund. For more information on how to do that, contact the foundation at 250-286-7164 or by email at or by contacting Blackburn directly at or 250-923-0213.

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William Henderson welcomes those in attendance for the launch of the new Art in the Campbell River Hospital Fund with a traditional song written by his grandfather. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror