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IHS Press

The Art of Healing: The Wishard Art Collection

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Hidden within the confines of one of the nation's oldest county hospitals is a historic and unprecedented collection of mural paintings. The art collection at Indianapolis's Wishard Memorial Hospital was originally created as murals that adorned the walls of patient care wards. Today, it hangs in public spaces, offices, and conference rooms throughout the hospital. A total of sixteen prominent Indiana artists contributed to this mammoth 1914 project, resulting in an estimated quarter mile of artwork. Project supervisor and famous Hoosier artist William Forsyth regarded it as "the most ambitious and monumental work yet undertaken by Indianapolis artists."

In the years since its creation, the collection has faded from public awareness. Age and misguided care have drastically altered the beauty of the murals, and what remains today is a fraction of the original project. The story of this great public work is a reflection of Hoosier talent and camaraderie joining to create "a great milestone in Indiana art."

Hardcover. 296 pages. 2004, Indiana Historical Society Press.  Authors: Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Katherine C. Nagler and Hester Ann Hale.