The Grange University Hospital

“This is an inspirational project involving many artists and linking the inside and outside environments. They have really considered how it would feel to be a patient or a member of staff using the building and that is to be applauded.”

The Grange University Hospital
Arts Programme

Artist: More than 60 artists, designers and makers

Client: Laing O'Rourke and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Location: Llanfrechfa, Torfaen

Services: Strategy development and commissioning

Phase: Completed 2021

The building of the Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa, Torfaen, was central to Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s (ABUHB) Clinical Futures Programme to deliver appropriate access and excellent standards of care.  The hospital, a purpose-built centre for specialist and critical care services has more than 560 beds and serves a population of 600,000 across Gwent and South Powys.

Research increasingly finds that creativity can improve heath, and the health board has embraced this approach by placing art at the heart of the Grange.  The arts were considered at the inception of the hospital with Studio Response completing the arts strategy in 2015.  Work to implement the strategy began in 2018, shortly after construction of the hospital began.  The building opened to patients more than five months early in November 2020, to respond to winter pressures and the second wave of COVID-19.  The final artworks were installed at the end of 2021.

Watch our specially commissioned film about the arts programme filmed and produced by Huw Crowley of White Noise & Fury:

More than 60 artists, designers and makers working across a wide range of media and practices have been commissioned to create site-specific public artworks and durational art projects in response to three key themes: nature, community and science and education.  Their work seeks to embed creativity into the fabric of the building and enhance the wellbeing of patients, visitors, staff and the community by creating a calm and welcoming environment that encourages contemplation and offers reassurance. 

Many of the artworks also serve a practical as well as aesthetic purpose.  Works such as the large-scale glass panels on each level and the integrated wayfinding illustrations make navigating the hospital less stressful by creating distinct spaces.

Exploring the beauty of the region’s landscape and its distinct culture and heritage, the artworks celebrate and honour the work of the NHS and reflect on how art and science together drive innovation. 

The arts programme’s reach is extensive, taking in not only public and clinical spaces, but also staff-only and bereavement areas, the grounds and the wider community to support patients, visitors and staff on their journeys through the hospital.  Ambitious thinking about what public art in a healthcare environment can be is revealed in the variety of projects, from wall installations, photography, painting and drawing to sound works, interactive play worlds, sculpture, gardens, architectural glass and steel, and more.

As a curated whole, the artworks foster a unique identity for the hospital that expresses the vibrancy and diversity of the people and places it serves.

A companion website, catalogue, film and digital release of the specially commissioned music and sound works, also ensure that engagement with the artworks can continue beyond the hospital walls.

In November 2022 the Arts Programme was Highly Commended in the Patient’s Choice Award at the Building Better Healthcare Awards 2022. Judged by Patricia Wilkie, President and Chair of the National Association for Patient Participation, the Patient’s Choice Award considered all of the nominations to this year’s awards.  Patricia Wilkie said of the Programme: “This is an inspirational project involving many artists and linking the inside and outside environments.  They have really considered how it would feel to be a patient or a member of staff using the building and that is to be applauded.”

In May 2023 the programme was award the prestigous Dewi-Prys Thomas Award which recognizes the importance of good design to the quality of life, identity and regeneration of Wales. The Arts Programme for the Grange was awarded by the judges for its best response to its site and context, positive contribution to the distinctiveness of the place and for addressing responsibly the environmental and social challenges of Wales in the twenty-first century.

Discover more about the art around the Grange University Hospital and the people who made it at the Art for the Grange website.  It features many films from our artists, designers and makers which give an insight into their inspiration and approach to making work for the hospital.

Studio Response devised and curated the Grange University Hospital Arts Programme in close collaboration with the Health Board, contractors Laing O'Rourke Construction and Gleeds Management Services.  We would like to thank our project partners and all the artists, designers and makers for their invaluable contributions to the programme. 


Photographs by Phillip Roberts Photography  the artists and Studio Response. 

Dewi-Prys Thomas Award photographs by Whole Picture and courtesy of the RSAW.