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Art at Mary Free Bed

At Mary Free Bed, we use science to better treat patients with injury and illness of all kinds. We also know that art complements science and medicine.


The art found in the buildings and on the grounds at Mary Free Bed transforms our clinical hospital environment to a place of warmth, beauty, and inspiration. Our rehab experts support the act of creating art because it heals, it expresses emotion, and it promotes freedom.

One look at all the paintings, drawings, and photography from former Mary Free Bed patients and other community members who are disabled and you’ll understand art’s ability to transform a patient’s frame of mind and enhance rehabilitation.

The Annual Mary Free Bed Art Exhibition

Every year the Mary Free Bed Guild sponsors the annual Art Exhibition. The art exhibit is open to Michigan artists who are physically challenged. Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital showcases all of the art on the walls of our second floor inpatient building, usually from April until the end of summer.

The guild purchases selected works from the exhibit for permanent display in the hospital, which you can see throughout the Mary Free Bed campus.

â–ºView information about the 31st Annual Mary Free Bed Fine Arts Exhibition.

Art Program for Pediatric and Teen Patients

Mary Free Bed’s pediatric and teen patients always look forward to Wednesday evenings, which is when Artists Creating Together sets up a shop on the pediatric unit with an art cart and an art project.

The art projects break up the kids’ week and participants get to explore their creative side. The program helps patients, families, and visitors come together for community and support.

Very Special Arts is sponsored, in part, by the Mary Free Bed Guild of Grand Rapids.

ArtPrize at Mary Free Bed

ArtPrize, an international art competition held in downtown Grand Rapids, is judged by the public and anyone can compete.

In 2009, Mary Free Bed was venue to local artist Anna Donahue's sculpture, Rain. The Mary Free Bed Guild purchased and bronzed the piece, now permanently located on the hospital’s front lawn near the therapy path.

For ArtPrize 2010, Mary Free Bed was one of nearly 200 venues.

The hospital hosted an installment from Grand Rapids artist, Carol Roeda. Patients and staff members helped Carol paint the 7 totems that make up the installment, Walk With Me.

In 2011, Mary Free Bed hosted the artwork of Laura Demond and William Baxter, two Battle Creek artists who have struggled with chronic and debilitating health issues.  Their sculpture, Let Dreams Take Flight, is a brightly painted metal butterfly. It was sponsored by Community Inclusive Recreation and its ETC ARTS Studio, also of Battle Creek. 

The foundation of the sculpture was donated to ETC by Branden Cavinder in memory of his sister, the late artist Brandy Cavinder, whose involvement with CIR and ETC helped “turn her into a butterfly.”

Both ArtPrize artists from 2009 and 2010 exhibiting at Mary Free Bed had ties to the hospital. One artist’s brother and niece (the model for Rain) were treated at Mary Free Bed. The other artist previously raised funds through her art for a friend and fellow church member who was a patient of Mary Free Bed’s Spinal Cord Injury Program.

© 2015 Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital., Grand Rapids, MI | 1.855.MFB.REHAB
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