The Aesthetics of Mental Health: Call for Artists

How can materiality reflect the evolving design concepts of therapeutic spaces?

What effect can colour have on the mood of an individual within a space?

How can the differences in mental health treatment styles be visualised within one work or a series of works?

How can colour be used to reflect our mental states?

Call for Artists

The Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre is seeking artwork for a digital show tentatively titled The Aesthetics of Mental Health, curated by Samuel McGuire. Artists working in all mediums that can be represented digitally are welcome to submit. The Interpretive Centre and the Curator are seeking artists at all stages of their careers. The exhibit will showcase artistic interpretations of the evolving standards of mental health care facilities as it relates to the patient experience.

The red brick buildings that today serve as the Lakeshore campus of Humber College were originally opened in 1890 as the Mimico Branch Asylum. The buildings serve as a reminder of Gothic and Romanesque hospital design and historical manners of treatment. During its operation the Hospital grounds hosted picturesque gardens that were maintained by the patients as a form of therapy. The Hospital officially closed as the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital in 1979 due to the deinstitutionalization movement which was a push to shift mental health care from long term facilities to a community care model.

In contemporary design, treatment centres make use of natural light, individual rooms, and environments with perceptual cues that can include clear textures, objects, and lines. In terms of the use of colour, blue tones in these modern spaces are used more heavily as modern research has shown that this provides a calming effect. In addition, contemporary thoughts on treatment have stressed the importance of gardens. Gardens are used as therapeutic spaces allowing patients to be separate from harsh sounds and landscapes. Although these design concepts are not always implemented, these are the modern ideals.

The Aesthetics of Mental Health draws inspiration from the recent past of institutionalized mental health care to the evolving future of therapeutic design. A thread in the history of mental health care is a focus on aesthetics: pleasing gardens and living spaces. While the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital used the gardens as calming spaces, the patients were also responsible for the maintenance gardens as a form of treatment. The modern ideal also uses garden spaces as a calming space to aid in recovery; away from harsh noises and demands. At the core of both of these design methodologies is an importance placed on beautifying spaces. The artists selected for this show will interpret the distinct imagery found in both eras and look towards the evolving future of therapeutic design.

Four artists will be selected and compensated according to CARFAC’s 2021 rates. Their works will be showcased on the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre’s website and social media pages. After the conclusion of the three-month show period, one work from each artist will be selected to be part of a permanent digital exhibit archive.

Submission Requirements

  • Artist Statement (200-500 words). The Artist Statement should give a description of your artistic practice as it relates to the show.

  • Digital copies of works or proposed works (max 5 jpgs). Please title all jpgs with the image number and your name. For example: “01WilliamShatner,” “05WilliamShatner”

  • Image list with titles, descriptions, scale, and materials.

  • CV (max 2 pages).

  • Combine all documents into one PDF for easy viewing.

  • Include the “Aesthetics of Mental Health” in the subject line of your email.

Please email submissions and any questions to

Deadline to apply is: January 29, 2021 at Midnight.


Show will premiere in late spring 2021.

Key Words:   Therapeutic Design, Garden Spaces, Stressed Spaces, Evidence Based Design, Mental Health.

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