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Finding inspiration through art in difficult times

By Monica Matys  •  December 3, 2021

Fall colours surround a bridge Blue flowers Blue butterfly Orange abstract painting painting

Epidemiologist Rachel Strauss remembers standing in line at Sunnybrook to get a COVID test in 2020. “It was such a stressful time for so many people working at the hospital. As I was waiting, I was trying to think of a good way to show my gratitude to those on the frontlines.”

Rachel had in the past painted art work as part of the Ceiling Tile Project. Run through Sunnybrook’s Gift Shops & Vendors Department, artists donate their time and skills to create beautiful paintings, using ceiling tiles as their canvases. These can be sponsored by anyone and then installed on hospital units to provide beauty and inspiration to staff and patients alike. Funds raised go towards supporting patient comfort and care projects at the hospital.

Rachel had the idea of organizing a bigger installation for all the COVID efforts at Sunnybrook. She spent months reaching out to local artists, collecting their work and overseeing the details around installation, which took place this year in late summer. Thanks to the generosity of nearly two dozen artists, the paintings now adorn many units. The COVID collection artists have requested that sponsorship funds from their tiles go towards COVID-related initiatives at Sunnybrook.

“The focus was bringing some joy to the frontline workers, but anyone can enjoy the paintings,” says Rachel. “COVID has been a defining moment in time, so each ceiling tile in this collection is a way to honour the tremendous efforts of frontline staff.”

Scroll through the photo gallery above to view a selection of the tiles and read notes from some of the contributing artists.