Thrive by IU Health

September 21, 2021

Soothing ‘Shades of Southern Indiana’ to help IU health patients heal

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

Soothing ‘Shades of Southern Indiana’ to help IU health patients heal

At the new IU Regional Academic Health Center at IU Health Bloomington, the healing experience extends well past medicine and traditional therapies. Powered by philanthropy, these supporting therapies comprise a holistic approach to healing and wellness.

That healing will begin before patients and patient families set foot in the new building. Gardens, trails and the soft sounds of piano music will welcome visitors and create a calming and peaceful atmosphere. Every element of the new regional hospital campus was carefully considered and chosen to inspire feelings of wellness, healing and hope.

MaryAnn Valenta, IU Health director of alignment and integration for IU Health’s south-central region, is an integral player in the new hospital design and instrumental in the creation of “Shades of Southern Indiana,” a design approach using colors to represent the variety of landscapes found across the region, along with artwork, plants and decor to pay tribute to the natural and cultural influences found in Bloomington and surrounding communities.

Valenta says that bringing these visual elements front-and-center when planning the design of the new Bloomington hospital was about more than making the facility more attractive; it was about creating a space for improved wellness. “The importance of artwork as part of the experience in the building emerged early on when we were forming our vision and guiding principles for design. Art enhances the emotional wellbeing of patients, families, providers and our team members.”

It was also important to Valenta that local artists be featured in the design. Mosaics across the regional campus were created by south central Indiana residents, and an exhibit space will display works from Indiana University art students.

Visitors, patients and team members will enjoy special features from “Shades of Southern Indiana,” including stained glass windows in the chapel to native plants in the healing gardens. Many of these features are made possible thanks to philanthropy. And all of it — in combination with the highest standard of medical care — is part of the healing process.

To support holistic healing programs at the new hospital, contact IU Health Foundation Director South Central Region Diane Buzzell at or IU Health Senior Development Officer Emily Trinkle at