Art at the Heart

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An art & design programme in a acute health care setting

Art at the Heart of the RUH logo

More creativity and inspiration

Art at the Heart charitable activities are funded by RUHX, and other grants from charitable organisations to provide an innovative and inspiring arts programme which delivers exhibitions, live music, and creative activities, for patients, visitors and staff at the Royal United Hospitals Bath. As well as exceptional medical care, the hospital provides 52 acres of space for both amateur and professional artists, and arts organisations, to exhibit their work in a unique environment.

With your help we want to raise £38,000 to fund the pARTicipate creative activities in 2024/25 and ensure our patients continue to receive extraordinary art therapy at the RUH Bath.


Art at the HEart

We want to be able to continue providing this holistic approach to medical care and treatment through art and design, providing a high quality programme of music, visual arts, dance and drama to support patients, their families and staff in our hospital. If you are passionate about the arts we need your help to keep this extra extraordinary programme going.

Evidence has shown that access to arts opportunities and participation in the arts can dramatically improve health outcomes and wellbeing for patients. It can reduce stress and increase social engagement as well as provide opportunities for self-expression.


pARTicipate is an ongoing programme of creative engagement led by Art at the Heart which provides three core projects: Artsparks, Stitch in time and Soundbite.

Art at the Heart
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Artsparks was first established in 2008. Art workshops for young patients and their families/carers makes a real difference to their overall experience and hospital stay; which also supports the clinical teams and in turn reduces pressures across the ward. These sessions are so valuable and make such a difference to a child’s experience in hospital. Children often start workshops shy and unsure but leave with huge smiles and an enormous sense of achievement. Inevitably, this makes the whole ward a happier place.

Artsparks workshops are running weekly on the RUH Children’s ward. They take place both in the playroom and by patient bed sides. The intention is to allow children to enjoy the freedom to produce their own artwork in a safe, supportive and non-judgemental setting.

There have been more one to one sessions between the artist and individual patients during the last year and a great quality of beautiful artwork has been produced that patients and their parents/carers are very proud of.

Stitch in time
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Weekly creative art and reminiscence workshops individually tailored for our older patients. There have been noticeable benefits for some patients who work in a group, with more interaction and improved communication skills. Having interesting activities taking place, such as art or music, gives a patient more incentive and motivation to get up and participate, which can help maintain mobility and independence.

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The Soundbite Music Programme brings a varied line-up of music to patients, staff and visitors at the RUH; this involves live musical performances as well as interactive music visits for patients. Soundbite aims to create an uplifting and positive environment for patients, visitors and staff, whist providing students and emerging musicians with the opportunity to gain experience of music facilitation and performance in a health care setting.

Stitch in time has been funded by the Friends of the RUH for 2024/25.

Friends of The RUH


The RUH has one of Bath’s largest and most accessible exhibition spaces, open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hospital exhibits a variety of work by both amateur and professional artists, and arts organisations, in order to enhance the environment and improve the experience for patients, staff and visitors.

The ongoing exhibitions programme is funded through selling of artwork and trading activities and is not part of the charitable activities.

Dyson Cancer Centre
Dyson Cancer Centre
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83 art locations, with over 100 pieces thanks to Art at the Heart.

The centre provides a nurturing and therapeutic environment, making use of art and design, natural light, open spaces and noise reduction technology to reduce stress and anxiety and more rooms to safely hold private conversations.

RUHX funded a majority of the art in the Dyson Cancer Centre, along with other generous donors, including Deirdre Dyson.

To find out all about the artwork and the artists visit our arts in the Cancer Centre page here

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Photography – William Beck
Current exhibitions
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Up-and-coming exhibitions
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Permanent collection

Over the past 20 years, Art at the Heart has built a sizeable permanent art collection through the acquisition of site specific commissions or generously donated or loaned on a long term basis by artists and individuals, providing a substantial asset to The Trust. This includes the internal and external courtyards throughout the hospital that showcase a range of 3-D artworks, so a glance outside the building is as engaging as walking around inside.

In addition to the public areas, we sell and arrange commission of artwork for display in wards and departments. Our aim is to ensure that the quality of artwork and framing throughout the Trust is of a consistent high quality.

Dyson Cancer Centre
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Butterfly RainbowButterfly Rainbow

In May 2020, Damien Hirst created Butterfly Rainbow to show support for the NHS in the Coronavirus crisis. The work is made up of bands of coloured butterfly wings, one of the artist’s best-known motifs. A limited edition of the work was produced with all profits donated to NHS Charities Together, raising a total of £1,508,172.

Young Historians Project

A hidden history: African women and the British health service.
Young Historians Project

The mural showcases four African women who have connections to the South-West of England, and worked within Britain’s healthcare service – Princess Tsehai Selassie, Bijou Bidwell a.k.a. ‘Aunty Bijou, Hannah Jawara (nee Mahoney) and Olugbemisola Kolade.

It was commissioned and donated by Young Historians Project – a non-profit organisation formed by young people of African and Caribbean descent, working to encourage other young people to engage with Black British history and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Bristol based artist, Michele Curtis painted this mural with assistance from consultant artist Nadia Lloyd. Michele is the artist and architect behind the Seven Saints of St. Paul’s creative and digital place making project, and the Iconic Black Britons initiative developed to celebrate Black British history through art.

The Gift of Life

The Gift of Life

This artwork is dedicated to all of our local donors and their families.

Our ‘tree of life’ represents some of the feelings families have by agreeing to organ donation and reflecting how the receiving patients and families feel. This tree reflects new beginnings and the gift of life.

Kate Rattray is a local artist who makes bold and dynamic glass and ceramic mosaic art works since 1996. Inspired by nature and myth her works are both narrative and decorative.

She makes pieces in both 2 and 3 dimensions for indoor and outdoor spaces, for exhibitions, galleries and private and public spaces.

Kate also teaches mosaic workshops in her studio in Wells. She is a professional member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen and the British Association for Modern Mosaic.

Rite of Spring

Rite of Spring

Sebastian Smith has kindly donated his striking 24ft wide painting, Rite of Spring, to the Royal United Hospital collection for permanent display. The painting was completed in six hours in front of an audience to the music of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring masterpiece, for an exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, in February 2011.

The result is a calming yet energetic artwork, well suited to a hospital environment.

Three views of Wiltshire

Three Views of Wiltshire

Anna Simmons has painted Three Views of Wiltshire including: Roundway Hill near Devizes, Martinsell Hill near Calne and Woodborough Hill near Woodborough.

This is a long term loan from Dr Carol Peden; she bought all three paintings for the RUH collection in memory of her husband Robin Smith, who was Consultant Surgeon at the RUH for 20 years.

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For over 20 years, Martyn been documenting the lives of one family of elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Together with elephant scientist Cynthia Moss, Martyn has made three films for the BBC’s world-renowned Natural History Unit in Bristol following the day to day lives of an elephant matriarch, known as Echo, and her family. These highly acclaimed films, known as the “Echo of the Elephants” trilogy, follow Echo as she guides her extended family through crises, including droughts and the birth of her own crippled calf.


Howard Hodgkin is one of Britain’s most important painters and printmakers. Born in London in 1932, he studied at the Camberwell School of Art between 1949-50, followed by the Bath Academy of Art between 1950-1954. He has served as a trustee of both the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery, London and in 1992 he was knighted for his services to the arts.

Hodgkin’s paintings and prints often refer to memories and private experiences, but deliberately avoid the illustrational. Though his works often appear spontaneous, they are often the result of an extensive process of layering and over-painting. Since the 1950s, he has made a substantial number of original prints and, over the last twenty years has favored the use of etching and aquatint combined with hand-painting.

In 1985, Hodgkin won the Turner Prize and represented Britain in the Venice Biennale. His work has been the subject of numerous major retrospectives most notably at the Metropolitan Museum, New York in 1995 and more recently, in 2006, at the Tate Gallery, London, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the Reina Sofia, Madrid. His paintings and prints are held by most major museums including MoMA, NY, Tate Gallery, London, Metropolitan Museum, NY, British Museum, London, Carnegie Institute, Pennsylvania and Louisiana, Denmark.

The screenprint on T.H. Saunders Waterford paper ‘In a French Restaurant’1982 is signed by the artist in red crayon, lower right and kindly donated to Miss Rebecca Winterborn, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, by Mr Paul Cornwall-Jones


This drawing was inspired by a small photographic image that Stephen saw of a particular type of brain cell in the Cerebellum which was discovered in a nineteenth century by the Czech anatomist, Jan Purkinje.

Stephen has attempted to depict how each neuron might be encoded with specific information and memories which connect with the vast network of neurons that is our brain.

RNHRD & Brownsword Therapies
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How you can help us

With your help we want to raise £38,000 to fund the pARTicipate creative activities in 2024/25 and ensure our patients continue to receive extraordinary art therapy at the RUH Bath.

There are many ways you can support this project:

“The patient’s enjoy singing and listening to Frankie the most out of all activities offered on the ward. Always lifts the patient’s mood and they look forward to seeing her again!”