The Art of Healing

Party Hat (Orange) by renowned artist Jeff Koons recently debuted at the Jacobs Medical Center.

A world-class collection for world-class care.

Every inch of the Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego Health is designed for patient care—including its wall space. Throughout the center, over 150 pieces of fine art comprise The Healing Arts Collection, offering moments of respite and contributing to the recovery and wellness of patients and their loved ones.

“Research shows art has the ability to heal and de-stress,” says Joan Jacobs, the arts advocate and philanthropist behind the collection, and with her husband, Irwin, a longtime supporter of UC San Diego and the Jacobs Medical Center. “What we hope to create with the artwork is an uplifting environment that fosters warmth, comfort and inspiration. The goal is to increase feelings of well-being while promoting healing,” says Joan.

The Jacobs recently added a monumental piece to the Healing Arts Collection—Party Hat (Orange), a larger-than-life sculpture by prominent artist Jeff Koons installed in the hospital’s lobby last winter. Meticulously designed and fabricated from mirror-polished stainless steel, its reflective surface is something the artist hopes has a unique effect in the hospital.  “I hope it functions very metaphysically,” says Koons, “in that everyone who walks into the Jacobs Medical Center is reflected into it, affirmed by it, and hopefully it communicates an optimism such that no matter what that moment may hold for the viewer, they see a future that can bear positive things.”

This newest sculpture complements other paintings, photographs, sculptures and prints by the likes of Damien Hirst, Kiki Smith and Ryan McGuiness, as well as artists with connections to UC San Diego, such as former faculty members Manny Farber and Kim MacConnel ’69, MFA ’72. “The paintings chosen of mine are small, which is very personal, and their bright colors yet calm repetition of forms seem to make people happy,” says MacConnel. “The mind likes this little observational game, I think. So it makes perfect sense in a situational environment like the Jacobs Medical Center. I hope they work wonders.”