Gifts of Art

Programs Exhibits Performances
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Gifts of Art's nine galleries are viewed by approximately 10,000 people each day. This makes our galleries some of the most widely visited indoor, non-museum exhibit spaces in Michigan.

The artwork on display is richly diverse in style, medium, form and subject, and provides an ever-changing sampling of the best art the region has to offer. View our current exhibits online. For a quick reference for exhibit information, including gallery locations and hours, please go to our printable Exhibit Schedule Card. There is also a short video about Gifts of Art's Exhibition Program.
Call for Exhibits
Gifts of Art holds an annual Call for Exhibits to select artwork for the galleries. In addition, Gifts of Art hosts an annual Employee Art Exhibition that offers health system faculty and staff an opportunity to display their creative works.

How to purchase art: To purchase a piece of art on exhibit with Gifts of Art, please call 734.936.ARTS (2787). Gifts of Art accepts checks, visa and U-M employee payroll deduction.

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In addition to sponsoring on-site art-making demonstrations, Gifts of Art presents weekly free public performances in music, theater and dance. Hospital audiences can expect to see anything from a jazz ensemble to West African dance. Performers include local, regional and international artists who present an array of musical styles. Summer events take place in the hospital courtyard, weather permitting. For a complete description of our current monthly performances, including photographs of this month's performers, performance locations and hours, go to our Performances page. For a quick reference for event information, please go to our printable Performance Schedule (pdf).

If you would like information about performing for Gifts of Art, please email or call Carrie McClintock, 734-936-7960 or Elaine Sims, 734-936-7634.

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Art CartThe Art Cart program is a lending library of framed poster art. Volunteers take colorful carts of framed posters to the patient floors in the University Hospital and offer patients a selection of artwork to display in their rooms. The simple choice of artwork is one way we try to give patients a sense of control at a time when so much is decided for them. Many times these images have a profound affect on patients and become valued "companions" in their hospital experiences.

If you wish to become a volunteer for the Art Cart, please contact Volunteer Services. To request an Art Cart visit, call 734-936-ARTS (2787) or email

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Restorative gardens have had a presence in hospitals since the Middle Ages. The University of Michigan Health System is pleased to continue this tradition of hospitality with our Friends Meditation Garden. Our garden was specifically designed to provide an outdoor space of comfort and respite for patients, visitors and staff.

Challenging the notion that a human can be considered primarily from the viewpoint of the atoms and molecules and other particles that make up our physical form, Lloyd Jacobs, M.D., said the garden is an example of what makes each of us so very much more than a sum of our parts.

"The 'human spirit' exists here, in this place, at this time," he said, pointing to the medical buildings surrounding the courtyard and referencing the work going on inside them. "And this garden is sitting in the center of a place where, every day, people perform acts of dedication and, you may even say, love in the service of others.

"This is and will be a special place; a place for nurturing and sustaining that spirit," Jacobs continued. "I hope that all of you will seize the opportunity to rest a minute, be quiet, commune with nature and listen."

Internationally recognized landscape architect James van Sweden, of Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, Inc ., was instrumental in designing the garden. Van Sweden is a graduate of the U-M School of Architecture. The U-M Office of University Landscape Architecture worked with him to make the garden a reality.

"Most people think a garden is dead, but a garden can be very beautiful in winter," he explained. "Coming (originally) from Grand Rapids, I have an appreciation for winter."

Van Sweden emphasized the garden's "beautiful bones," or basic structural strengths, and the many reasons it has immeasurable potential:

  • Good proportions
  • Plantings for a restful atmosphere
  • Water from the fountain (particularly soothing)
  • Sculpture (for inspiration)

Map to garden

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Talented volunteer musicians, on the baby grand piano in our Main Lobby and in other waiting areas, provide a pleasant diversion during difficult times for patients, families and staff.

If you wish to become a volunteer musician, please call (734) 936-ARTS (2787), email Gifts of Art or contact Volunteer Services.

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Bedside MusicCertified Music Practitioners® provide bedside music in most patient units, intensive care units, neonatal units and dialysis, burn/trauma and pre-and post-surgery areas. This is one of Gifts of Art's most beloved programs. The music has an almost immediate stress-reducing and calming effect on patients. Staff members report that the music changes the whole tenor of the unit and gives them a brief respite, something that can be quite rare in their busy days.

For a sample of what Bedside Music has to offer, you can watch a video about the program, or you can read or watch a story about a special patient.

To request a visit by a Bedside Musician Monday-Friday during the day, call 734-936-ARTS (2787), email, or request Bedside Music on MiChart. For a printable flier with information on the bedside music program, click here.

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Bedside Art kitsGifts of Art has artists-in-residence with the Bedside Art program. They visit adult patients and guests with FREE art making projects. A visit by an artist-in-residence is an opportunity to try something new, discuss art, or simply have fun!

Choose from a variety of diverse art kits with materials and designs from around the world. Art kits include: journals, beaded bracelets, paper folding, greeting cards, drawing and more.

Our newest release, the "I'd Rather Be..." Coloring Book is FREE in designated patient waiting areas, or you can print pages here.

The process of experiencing art promotes health and well being by providing creative distraction, anxiety relief, human connection, and other benefits. To request a visit by one of our two artists-in-residence, Elaine Reed and Jessy Butts, call 734-936-ARTS (2787), email Gifts of Art, or clinical staff can request a Bedside Art visit on MiChart. Artists-in-residence are available M-F, 10:00 am-4:00 pm, excluding holidays.

In order to meet all of our many requests, patients may receive a total of two coloring books and up to two art kits per week. For a sample of what Bedside Art has to offer, you can watch this video about the program:

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Bedside Art kitsA visit by a Gifts of Art Writer in Residence is a chance for patients or family members to record a personal story for someone special in their lives. Participants receive their audio recording on a complimentary CD. The recordings are considered confidential and belong to participants to share with anyone they choose.

To request a free Story Studio visit, call 734.936.ARTS (2787) or email Gifts of Art. Writer in Residence Ami Walsh is available one evening a week, excluding holidays.

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LSO The Life Sciences Orchestra is the symphonic orchestra for members of the medical and life sciences community at the University of Michigan. The orchestra was founded to provide a performance outlet for faculty, staff and students in these disciplines while simultaneously building a sense of community and sustaining the creative spirit. The LSO presents two free public concerts each year. Concert and rehearsal footage as well as interviews with musicians are in the video below:


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Artists in Residence collaborate with Gifts of Art in the creation of participatory arts projects with our patients and staff. Our most recent project, The Dragon of Wishes Hopes and Dreams, was a collaboration with Art and Design Assistant Professor Anne Mondro and her students from the class Retaining Identity: The Role of Creative Work within the Healthcare Setting. The dragon was designed by artist Katy Bergman Cassell, funded by a FIGS grant, and brought about by participants creating messages in words and pictures on paper fans - more than 1,700 in all - which were then folded to become the scales adorning the Dragon. Spanning more than 16 feet, this magnificent dragon was dedicated to the patients, visitors, faculty and staff of the University of Michigan Health System on July 11, 2006 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers. It is located outside the University Hospital Main Lobby, Floor 1. View more photos of the project.


Art Under the Microscope

Radiance Tapestry

Re-Purposed Treasures

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Art Cart

Bedside Music Program

Bedside Art Program

Story Studio

Art Galleries

FRIENDS Meditation Garden

Artists in Residence

Life Sciences Orchestra

Music While You Wait

Weekly Public Performances


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