Art in Healthcare: A Case Study

Barbara Markoff, a corporate art consultant for 31 years, owns Artrageous!, an art consultancy  based in San Diego, CA.  Barbara has placed Natalie's art tile in several healthcare facilities.  She wrote the following case study for us to highlight how she chose Natalie's work for a recent healthcare project.   As an art consultant I am often presented with challenging situations where art is required to hang. This project, the new North Tower at Methodist Hospital of Southern California, in Arcadia, CA was new construction.  The six story building is the newest addition to the hospital’s campus which originally opened in 1957.  The state of the art facility houses the Hollfeld Emergency Care Center on the first floor, a 20 bed ICU unit on the 2nd floor, 40 medical/surgical beds on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors and a cafeteria in the basement area.  
Methodist Hospital of Southern California

Methodist Hospital of Southern California

  The challenge for this project was finding an artist who could create unique, theme-specific artwork for a circular recessed wall in a hospital setting.  My client was looking for a series of tiles that would convey an ocean theme and fit into a circular space.  For this project I needed to find artwork that was three dimensional, light weight, would protrude from the wall no more than 4”, and would fit into a 72” circular recessed wall across from an elevator.    
Handmade, ceramic wall art tile by Natalie Blake Studios

Wave, handmade ceramic wall art tile

    A perfect solution was to suggest ceramic tiles by Natalie Blake.  Knowing that Natalie would customize the tiles in terms of glaze color and subject matter made her work an excellent choice for this project.   An art committee comprised of two project managers, the chief operating officer, and hospital staff (total of 12 all together) reviewed each artist for the overall art program.  Budget concerns were a factor as well, and Natalie’s work was well priced meeting their allocated cost for the recessed wall.  I recommended a series of 8, 12” tiles to span the area.  Each row of 4 had a contiguous design.   Natalie’s work was selected due to her ability to produce themed artwork in specific colors within budget for this project.  I requested a sample of her work which showed the outstanding technique of carved clay.  Having been a ceramic major in college I was very excited about her attention to detail and design execution.  When I showed her sample to the hospital art committee everyone was thoroughly impressed with her ability to produce what was needed.  In this hospital project there were four, 72” recessed walls within the facility and the decision makers requested a different artist and different art media for each floor.  Unquestionably, Natalie’s work was the ideal candidate for ceramic art. Handmade, ceramic tile mural by Natalie Blake Studios   This project was my first one working with Natalie.  Having visited her website and seen images of other projects, especially in the field of healthcare, helped relieve any reservations I had in moving forward.  The tile sample and accompanying photographs showing other ocean themed works also made selling her work to my client fairly easy.  From the start I found Natalie and her staff to be professional, communicative, responsive, and experienced in handling every facet of the commission.  I especially liked seeing each phase of the project unfold as I was sent images of the unglazed tiles and later images of them glazed.  At all times I was kept abreast of the progress.  When the tiles arrived they were well packaged and beautifully executed.  Once installed at the hospital the feedback was very positive; in fact they among the art committee’s favorite art pieces.  My company offers art in all media and began working with Natalie only recently.  I hope to continue placing her work in my projects.  Many of my clients are in the healthcare sector, and Natalie’s work fits right in with nature themed artwork.        

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2 Responses to “Art in Healthcare: A Case Study”

  1. Sheree Coleman March 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm #86842

    Dear Natalie,
    I love your tiles but love your vessels as well. When I click on your link for your vessels it only takes me to your beautiful tiles. I am very interested in your tiles but would like to purchase a vessel first. Do you have any for sale at this time?

    Thank you for your time,
    Lubbock, TX

  2. NB Studios March 18, 2013 at 7:30 am #87446


    Did you receive an email back from us? My apologies if not. My business manager, Ellen, has been out this past week. If you are using an ipad or phone, you may be sent back to the tiles because the vessels web site is a Flash web iste. We are working on transferring that over to a WordPress site, but the transition hasn’t happened quite yet! If you look at on a regular computer you should be able to click on the vessels tab just fine and open the Flash site up to view all the vessels. Please email me at if you can’t get through! Do you have particular ideas on vessels you are interested in, or are you just perusing for ideas at this point? I’d be glad to help with whatever I can.


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