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In Paris, how the AP-HP and the Louvre bring art into hospitals

There are words that give meaning to your work. Each of us has some in mind, preciously preserved. For Olivier Galanti, mediator of the Louvre museum, participant in the project of museum actions in hospitals in the Ile-de-France region, this is the remark made to him by a patient suffering from generalized cancer, treated in a palliative care unit in Fontainebleau ( Seine et Marne). ” I remember, says the speaker, that following our visits this patient told me that his room had been enlarged. »

Launched in 2013, materialized with the signature of a partnership in 2014, which will be renewed at the end of this year, the “Le Louvre à l’Hôpital” approach associates the famous museum and the AP-HP, public assistance- hospitals in Paris, and, since 2019, the regional health agency (ARS) of Île-de-France, the latter including the Center hospitalier du Sud Seine-et-Marne. It aims to make art collections accessible to hospitalized people. In ten years, more than 12,000 have followed an activity of this program.

Inauguration of an exhibition as part of the scheme

Inauguration of an exhibition as part of the “Le Louvre à l’Hôpital” program at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital on April 17 in Paris.

© Florence Brochoire/Louvre Museum

Since 2015, three exhibitions presenting reproductions of works have been launched. These sets of mobile panels then travel to different departments, geriatrics, oncology, paediatrics, psychiatry, addictology, nutrition… classic works, such as the very cinematic Serment des Horaces de David.

Travel for a moment

Guided tours are organized by on-site mediators for patients and nursing staff. Similarly, an artotheque, a library of works of art, has been set up with reproductions. Patients can draw an image from a painting which is then hung in their room.

In psychiatric services, for example, this choice gives rise to discussions with doctors. “Conversations” are also given with volunteer agents: curators but also gardeners, marble workers discuss their profession with patients, giving a concrete vision of the life of the museum. Workshops centered on the use of a multisensory case also bring together patients and mediators.

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It’s not art therapy, but rather a bubble of oxygen from outside

Cathy Losson, head of the education, democratization and accessibility department at the Louvre

A few days ago, for the session “Escale au bord du Nile” at Georges-Pompidou, the art history lecturer Haywon Forgione took out of her magic box reproductions of Egyptian frescoes that the participants took in hand, watched for a long time, fragrant ceramic discs evoking the scent of damp earth along the river, all on the grunts of hippos or the wailing of crocodiles. And it works, that day, the patients and a caregiver closed their eyes and traveled for a moment.

“It’s not art therapy, but rather a bubble of oxygen from outside”, explains Cathy Losson, head of the education, democratization and accessibility department at the Louvre. “For the staff, it’s a plus in the service; and, on the patient side, they are more relaxed, and therefore it is less painful when they receive treatment”, adds Évelyne Menaud, in charge of cultural affairs at AP-HP Nord.

A qualitative study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on the actions at the René-Muret hospital in Sevran (Seine-Saint-Denis) showed, in 80% of patients who followed a session of discussion, a reduction in anxiety, a feeling of well-being.

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