The Friends of University Hospitals

Artists on the Wards (AOW)

Our popular Artists on the Wards program is a free service that caters primarily to patients, but is also appreciated by visitors and staff. Five professional and 30 volunteer literary, musical, and visual artists provide inspiration, stimulation, or, simply a diversion from the stresses and monotony of daily life in a hospital by visiting patients at their bedside.

Artists work one-on-one or in small groups with adult patients throughout the hospital. Although they are not therapists, the work the artists do is therapeutic. Recent research has shown that participation in creative activities such as painting, writing, and listening to music can decrease heart rates and lower cortisol levels. Patients also report significant reductions in pain during these types of interactions, and speak of an increased sense of well-being, self-confidence, and improved spirits.

Book a Visit

Visits may be scheduled (see below) or spontaneous. The duration of each visit depends upon the patient, who may wish to share five minutes, half-an-hour, or, request that the visiting artist returns at another time.

To book a visit, simply phone the Friends’ office at 780-407-8428 and make your request.

How to Become an AOW Volunteer

To become a volunteer AOW, please contact the University Hospital Volunteer Services desk at 780-407-8428.

Please note: The interview process includes an audition/ presentation of your work.

Bev Ross talks about Artists on the Wards on CKUA: