Wondering where to view an impressive art collection in Hillsborough? Be sure to check out our eight galleries, our local arts council, and the hospital.
Yep, only in Orange County would a hospital have an art component seemingly as well thought out as the medical technology and care facilities. Or at least this was my impression upon my first visit to UNC Hospitals’ Hillsborough Campus.
I was invited to a reception at the hospital last month to acknowledge Orange County art students who had work on display in cases throughout the hospital. The student pieces range from adorable to “Woah! A 16 year old did that?” but what shocked me was the emphasis of art within this state-of-the-art facility.
What first struck me was the absence of the sterile whites one usually associates with a hospital. Rather, the space is open and airy with warm colors and glass dividers embedded with visions of trees and sea grass. What I later learned upon a tour with UNC Healthcare’s Interior Designer Melody McDonald, is that each floor has a geographic theme including the Piedmont, mountains and coast, featuring related artwork and subtle architectural details.
As surprisingly thoughtful as these design elements are, the most impressive feature of the facility is its 74-piece art collection featured throughout the hospital’s hallways, public areas and waiting rooms. Among the 54 North Carolina artists featured include notable Orange County artists including Hillsborough’s own Tom Stevens, Elaine O’Neil, Heather DeLisle, Alice Levinson, and Jennifer Miller as well as Chapel Hill’s Lolette Guthrie and Michael Brown.
The collection is so robust that the hospital actually has self-guided walking art tour you can take to make sure you view their complete collection. The curation of the collection rivals that of the finest museums, and warrants a stand-alone visit not related to a medical emergency. So as much as it pains me to recommend spending a Saturday touring a hospital, I have to. Never have I left a hospital with the same creativity-inspiring, soul-feeding, warm fuzzies that I have after a visit to a museum or gallery (at least not without heavy pain medication).
The hospital is located at 430 Waterstone Drive in Hillsborough. And while the hospital is open 24/7 (it’s a hospital after all), make sure to visit during regular business hours so you can make sure to view pieces located in the non-emergency waiting rooms and offices.