Artists in Healthcare believe that music and the arts are essential for a healthy life.

Artists in Healthcare brings live music and arts to patients receiving treatment in oncology, palliative care, rehabilitation and dialysis. On units throughout hospitals in Manitoba our unique programs provide important benefits for patients, families, and staff as an oasis from stress and anxiety often found in these environments.

Chemotherapy can be described in many ways, and unexpectedly, one of them is boring. Sitting in a chair, sometimes for 10 hours, to receive treatment does not have to be totally tedious, as our Art by the Big Blue Chair program shows.

The value of our work is reflected in the thoughtful feedback we receive, comments such as:

“I just received a cancer diagnosis, but for the 10 minutes I was sitting here listening to you play, I forgot.”

Our year round programs take place at St. Boniface and Grace Hospitals, CancerCare Manitoba, Foyer Valade, Jocelyn House, Brandon Health Centre, Boundary Trails and Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach, and are coming soon to the Health Sciences and Tache Centres.

Artists in Healthcare musicians play for over 7,000 patients in Manitoba each month.

The Service Canada Summer jobs programs hires up to 9 student musicians, who add another 2,500 hours of programming at 11 hospitals and long term care facilities.

To see some of our work in action please click on the following links:

Music programs: Grace Hospital and CancerCare

The Art at the Bedside program (St. Boniface Hospital)

Our WSO string quartet series: Video 1 and Video 2

Our hope is to expand our organization and develop a base of supporters who value the important work of our artists and musicians in health care.

We welcome simple demonstrations of support, such as “Liking” our Facebook page, linking to it on your website, or through spreading the word about the valuable work of our organization.

You can make a financial donation either to the mailing address below, or at www.artistsinhealthcare.com by clicking on the link which takes you to the secure website, Canada Helps.

We greatly appreciate your support and are happy to acknowledge any donations over $50 with a tax receipt.

Artists in Healthcare, MB
#2 1325 Markham Road
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R3T 4J6
Please feel free to email us at [email protected]
or phone 204-999-0057

Artists in Healthcare’s charitable number is 882394711

Recent articles:

WJO honours Babs Asper with two shows, Winnipeg Free Press

Manitoba musicians fill hospitals with music, CBC

Art by the Big Blue Chair, Shaw

Indiegogo campaign

Community Connection, Eleanor Coopsammy, CTV


Artists in Healthcare Manitoba (AIHM), formerly known as Manitoba Artists in Healthcare (MAH),

was begun in 1999 by artist Shari Johnston and nurse/artist Susan Johnston.

Shari had a dream.  As an active painter and sculptor, “and having been in and out of dreary hospitals” in her younger years, she “had always wanted to bring the healing aspects of the arts to Winnipeg patients via an in-hospital art program”.  Susan said to Shari; “With your ideas and my energy, we’re totally capable of setting it up”.  This was the beginning and that Johnston inspiration still motivates our board staff.

Strategies were developed, programming was researched and three International Conferences were attended; in Seattle, Washington, Gainesville, Florida and Washington, D.C. Naomi Gerard, nurse/artist, joined forces in 2000 and attended the second conference with the founders

The organization was incorporated in 2001, “set up shop” in St. Boniface Hospital in January 2002 and was awarded charitable status in April 2002.

Shari’s and Susan’s goal was to bring MAH to every hospital in the province.  This goal is being accomplished with AIHM’s thirty professional and student musicians, volunteer artists and musicians, three program coordinators, and the commitment and dedication of the Board of Directors and Executive Director, Shirley Grierson.

Quotes by Shari and Susan appeared in Canadian Living, “Creative Hearts Are Better than Drugs” September 2003.

Benefits to Healthcare and the Community

Staff, patients and families experience the calming influence of an artist or musician. Patients have the opportunity to engage with an artist, providing them not only diversion but the opportunity to tap into their own creative energy. The body, mind, spirit connection is made. Activities that bring joy and laughter are brought into the healthcare …

Benefits to the Arts

Artists can experience and explore the value of their work to contribute to health and wellness with patients. Artistic practice can be informed and deepened as meaning is explored. New employment opportunities for artists in health care. Arts exposure provided to a unique and typically underserved community. Creation of new gallery spaces.

Board Members & Honorary Advisory Council

Treasurer: Pam Campbell Pam Campbell has two hearing-impaired children and is a co-founder of the Central Speech & Hearing Clinic, a clinic that teaches deaf children how to speak. She has sat on the Board since the Clinic’s inception in 1989 as the Treasurer and Acting Chair. Most recently she has resigned her position on …

Our Goals

To enhance the patient experience in hospitals and the health care community at large, through the arts. To provide programming that encourages patients and staff to access the arts for wellness, contemplation and healing. To provide visual arts and music as a meditative and relaxing diversion from stress related to illness. To acknowledge the value …


…the young guitar player has effectively changed my Tuesday Out-Patient Clinic. When he is playing, the activity and anxiety level is much lower. The children are calmer. It is so much easier… it shortens our examination time! —Dr Sylvia Kovnats, Director Ambulatory Out-patients, St Boniface General Hospital This programming is as important as drugs and …

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