Visual Art Guidelines of The Novak Center for Children's Health

Purpose of Visual Art within the Novak Center for Children’s Health
The purpose of the visual art within the Novak Center for Children’s Health (Novak Center) is to promote an engaging, inviting and safe environment for patients and caregivers. The vision for the Arts in Healthcare Program is to promote health and healing by integrating art with patient care in order to foster a supportive, restorative and engaging environment for our patients, their families, and our health care community. This supports the Novak Center’s vision to provide an excellent, accessible, and coordinated care experience for children, young adults, and their families in a setting that integrates excellence in clinical service, medical education, research and medical innovation and artwork will be selected first and foremost for the patient in order to enhance their healthcare experience.

Content and Aesthetic Guidelines

  • Artwork promoting a calming, uplifting, and healing environment will form the basis of the collection. Work should be recognizable as art by and of interest to the center’s average patient, visitor or staff member and selection will be made with equal concern for content and aesthetic quality.  The overall collection will represent cultural and ethnic diversity. 
  • Subject matter must be appropriate for infants, children, and young adults (up to 26 years of age) and correspond with evidence-based design elements for pediatric patients. Work should be warm, colorful, friendly, inviting, and comforting with themes and images of natural content or patterns. 
  • Artwork that highlights nature is preferred by children with subject matter including, but not limited to, familiar outdoor settings such as verdant trees and flowers, gardens, landscapes, tranquil water and seascapes, and limited man-made elements. Abstract artwork that encourages the viewer to see positive images such as waves or landscapes should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Artwork exhibited in non-public or non-clinical areas may have a broader range of subject matter and styles.
  • Work by Kentucky artists and highlighting Kentucky themes and landscapes are high priorities for the program. 

Art not appropriate for the Novak Center collection includes:

  • Work that displays obvious negative connotations;
  • References that may offend any religion, sect or race;
  • Artwork of a political nature;
  • Depictions of violence, threatening situations, distorted faces or body parts;
  • Portrayals of overt sexual or violent connotations;
  • Lonely landscapes, vacant furniture; leafless trees or dead plant life;
  • Blurry or out-of-focus images, and abstract work or images of color without shape or reality are not recommended for pediatric care environments;
  • The use of red should be limited because of the perceived relationship to blood;
  • Figurative art is generally not the best choice and if included should represent emotionally positive faces;
  • Special care should be taken to ensure that figurative art represents those of varying abilities and diversities.

Media Type

Work created in a variety of media will be considered as long as the media is not a source of allergens and will not break or decompose under normal environmental conditions (temperature, light, humidity).

Two-dimensional visual art of varying media including, but not limited to, original paintings, lithographs, photographs, collage, woodcuts, sculpture, drawings and posters will be considered. Three-dimensional visual art including, but not limited to, sculpture, folk arts and crafts will be considered, but will require unique locations and additional care.

Consideration of art for long-term use should use quality art materials that do not deteriorate quickly and that can be effectively maintained. Each piece will be assessed for durability and fragility prior to acceptance. 

Artwork must be able to withstand cleaning and maintenance processes that are required and regulated standards for healthcare facilities to assure infection control including cleanability, maintenance and durability.  Our professional staff will assist in ensuring that selected artwork meets clinical objectives and complies with state and federally mandated regulations, competencies, policies, procedures, and standards for patient safety and professionalism.

Safety is a primary consideration in the selection of art for the Novak Center for Children’s Health.  Pieces that have sharp edges, points or projections that can cause injury, small parts that could be broken off, inappropriate frames or frames that are of substandard construction, and pieces that may impede walkways or corridors will not be considered.


Artwork may be included in the Novak Center’s public areas (lobbies, waiting rooms, primary corridors), clinical areas (patient exam and treatment rooms, consultation areas), other areas designated for patients or visitors, galleries and special exhibition areas including those items donated, purchased, or loaned.

Art Selection Committee

  • The Art Selection Committee, made up of healthcare professionals, art professionals, community members and development staff, provides assistance with adherence to the collection policy, selection of artwork, promotion of the collection’s purpose and advocacy for the relationship between art and healing.
  • The Art Selection Committee will ensure that all art acquisitions are consistent with the Novak Center’s mission, design and aesthetics. 
  • The Art Selection Committee, guided by the arts in healthcare program manager, is responsible for all approvals pertaining to donated and loaned artwork, acquisitions and de-accessions for the artwork collection.


The Art Selection Committee, in collaboration with the Art in Healthcare Manager, will view electronic images or color photos/reproductions of art recommended for installation to determine whether work meets the specifications for the Novak Center. Final approval may be based on viewing the actual artwork.

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