Art project helps rehab patients in Philadelphia 'look up' for inspiration

The "Look Up! Project" started in Jefferson Health Magee Rehabilitation Hospital's art therapy studio.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An art project at a rehabilitation hospital in Philadelphia is inspiring patients every time they "look up."

The "Look Up! Project" started in Jefferson Health Magee Rehabilitation Hospital's art therapy studio, but its popularity is quickly helping it spread to other parts of the hospital too.

"Definitely a good entryway for people to learn about art therapy when they first get to the hospital because it's not every day you look up and see art on the ceiling," said Julie Nolan, an Art Therapist at Magee Rehabilitation.

Instead of the typical, blank white tiles, the ceiling in her studio is full of color with messages like "Believe."

Patients work on the masterpieces together.

"We do a lot of tilting back in wheelchairs, [lying] down in bed, working out on mats, working out in the gym, so a lot of patients spend a lot of time looking at the ceiling," said Nolan.

One of the patients working on the tiles is Susan Jones.

"It's a relaxing time to spend, I could spend all day in here," said Jones while working on a project.

She, like all of the patients at Magee, is recovering from a traumatic injury. Art therapy helps her work on her fine motor skills, cognition and gives her reprieve from the hospital environment.

"You can do pretty much anything you're interested in," said Jones.

The program has become so popular, it's popping up in other areas of the hospital too, like the gym. It's making it so that when patients lie down for their therapy, they'll look up and be inspired.

"You kind of can see their face lighten up a little bit and a sense of ease that comes over them," said Nolan.

The tiles contain messages of hope in bursts of color, and the project is doing wonders in helping patients recover from trauma.

"You see all the different ideas; it gives you inspiration," said Jones.
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