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Art at St Vincent's

“The hospital becomes a ‘natural gallery’. The art allows you to identify the area of the hospital you are in, it localises you to a place. The art brings a new dimension to your experience in the hospital. You can speak about the art with your friends and family and do not have to dwell on your illness. When you are recuperating to have something to think about other than your illness, something to relate to and to appreciate I think, can assist in healing.”

St Vincent’s Hospital

Rehabilitation Unit patient and his partner 2009


Monique Silk, Art Curator

Monique Silk is the Art Curator at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. Monique has worked in this role for 8 years and is responsible for the Artist in Residence Program, the STV Public Gallery and Art collection.

Monique Silk , Art Curator
Tuesday and Thursday
Building E - Aikenhead Wing, Level 8, 27 Victoria Parade

Tel: 03 9231 3420
Fax: 03 9231 3918
Mob: 0408 140 706

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Our art collection is the most significant hospital collection in Victoria, including works by renowned twentieth century Australian artists and emerging contemporary artists. Today, we have over 1,300 works on public display across 18 hospital sites. Predominately our acquisitions come through our Artist in Residence program and the Commonwealth Cultural Gifts Program. The majority of the works are put on display in areas of public engagement.

Links to CGP and forms here and some images from collection

For 19 years, St Vincent’s has accommodated artists on site through our Artists in Residence Program.  St Vincent’s Artist in Residence Program incorporates 8 studios spaces (formerly used as a patient bed wing which is now de-commissioned) at Caritas Christi Hospice in Kew. The program offers artists a yearlong studio residency in exchange for a selection of art works donated to the hospital art collection. The program has been running since 1995 and was relocated to Caritas in 2008. A number of former artists in residents are now renowned artists such as Ben Quilty and Vincent Fantauzzo. In 2016 we will celebrate 20 years of our Artist in Residence program.

A new initiative which has grown out of the Art in Science Research Week exhibition and which is an extension of the Artist in residence program is a new partnership we have created with the University of Melbourne. This initiative is a short term (1 week) Art in Bio-medical Science residency and involves: access to both St Vincent’s and University of Melbourne art and museum collections archives and time with scientists in medical imaging facilities in order for the artist to explore a seed idea.

Links to AIR application and images of studios here

As Victoria’s largest metropolitan provider of acute, adult Indigenous healthcare, our art collection plays an important role in making our hospital sites culturally welcoming to Indigenous Australians, reducing stress and cultural alienation in the hospital setting. Each year we host an exhibition of works by Aboriginal artists during Reconciliation Week, this started with simple beginnings and has grown to be a significant event where many Aboriginal community groups, patients and friends gather to celebrate Aboriginal Art and its role in the healing process. In 2015 our event was attended by Ms Catherine Andrews, Board Member of the Torch Project.

We also allocate one of our Artist in Residence studio spaces to Aboriginal artists and we hold several significant Aboriginal works in collection. Artist Lynette Briggs was commissioned by St Vincent’s Hospital to create an artwork that symbolised the partnership between St Vincent’s and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service. This artwork was symbolic of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations to work towards better health outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Our gallery, located in our Daly Wing, hosts rotating exhibitions on a monthly basis. Since 2013, to accompany St Vincent’s Research Week we have hosted an Art in Science prize bringing together artist entrants from across Australia. St Vincent’s Art Gallery has approximately 50 metres of hanging space and is located within the busy St Vincent’s Outpatients’ Clinic. The space has become a fully operating public art gallery and is a designated participant of the Commonwealth Cultural Gifts Program. Exhibitions are regularly displayed with bookings sought by many emerging artists.

Artists or community groups wishing to apply for an exhibition can contact the Art Curator to discuss.

Links to application forms for exhibition

‘Can guided viewing of available Art engage inpatients living with dementia?’

This project aims to look at the ways reflection upon art can positively impact patients who have dementia. Funded through St Vincent’s own Research endowment fund, this project is being led by our Art Curator and members of the Social Work team. It is hoped that an outcome of this project will be finding ways to better engage and stimulate our services to patients who have dementia and who reside in our aged care facilities by taking away the pressure to remember and giving them the freedom to imagine.