There's plenty of hub-bub surrounding the new Trinity at Terrace Park Hospital in Bettendorf that opened last week. With good cause, too. After all, it's the first hospital for Bettendorf since its incorporation 100 years ago. And it touts state-of-the-art medical equipment, spacious rooms, a full-service spa, a coffee shop, and a healing garden.

But what excited me, as I found during a pre-opening tour, is the artwork that's been strategically placed throughout the facility. What excited me even more is the fact that nearly half the pieces are from local and regional artists including Nancy Purington, Dick Oberg, Mike Paustian, Judy Gray, Ralph Iaccarino, and Fred Easker.

Placing high-quality art in a medical setting is a trend that has been on the rise across the nation. Mayo Clinic, Northwestern Memorial, and New York City's Health & Hospitals have been leaders in executing what research has proven: The intangible properties of fine art have a measurable and positive outcome of an illness. Face it: Most visits to the hospital don't fall into the fun or recreational categories. They are stressful situations and art becomes a positive distraction, contributing to a nurturing, healing space for patients and their families.

I'd like to say the "buck doesn't stop there," because (a) the Bettendorf Centennial Committee's art project of decorated deer greet you at the front door (but have since been moved to other locations) and (b) the artwork has been carefully placed to reflect the patient population. For example, Ralph Iaccarino's Twilight in the French Drawing Room is strategically located in a reception seating area; in the birthing center, ceramic teapots, quilts with a heart theme, and even a collage of baby items grace the walls.

So next time you have occasion to visit Trinity at Terrace Park, look past the more than 10,000 yards of wall covering and enjoy the artwork. Maybe if we make enough noise about it, Trinity can get a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to further its collection. Then, the next ad in its campaign might boast, "You're not in a museum. You're not in an art gallery. You're in the hospital."

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