Our history

Gary Blair and Earl Pinchuk founded the Art for Healing Foundation out of a deep concern for human well-being, drawing on their passions and firsthand experiences.

The foundation’s story began in 2001 in Royal Victoria Hospital. Gary and Earl frequently visited their friend Yves Larouche, who was hospitalized for the last months of his life. They immediately noticed how the setting’s coldness offered little comfort in those sad circumstances. The drab, bare walls clashed with their ailing friend’s life as a multidisciplinary artist and their own daily lives, which were permeated by art.

Not long before, Gary and Earl, both art collectors, had been considering opening an art gallery in Montreal. Earl was already exploring the inner workings of the industry and was shocked to learn that many of the pieces produced were returned unsold to storage.

Montreal does not need another contemporary art gallery. What Montreal really needs is a not-for-profit organization to bring the healing power of art into healthcare institutions.
Earl Pinchuk

Combining the gallery project and their reflections on the hospital environment, they created the Art for Healing Foundation, whose mission is to install art in hospitals and other healthcare institutions. 

Officially launched on Earl’s fortieth birthday in 2002, the foundation has become much more than a project for the two partners—it’s a life’s mission, a way of giving back to society.

From Idea to Reality

Gary and Earl had long witnessed the benefits of art in their daily lives. Though they strongly felt that art should be brought to healthcare institutions, they still needed to complete a first project. 

Instinctively, they approached the Montreal Children’s Hospital. During their visit, they were distressed to learn that some children were permanently living in the hospital. This realization set the Foundation’s first act in motion: giving these patients a work of art for their room. With one exception, all the children chose a landscape, a symbol of their desire for freedom and a source of hope. Gary and Earl understood how profoundly meaningful the choice of artwork was.

This first project dispelled the founders’ initial doubts about the art and hospital communities’ openness to their mission. The media attention generated by the project sparked a lasting enthusiasm, underscoring the Foundation’s undeniable value. And twenty years later, it still shows no signs of slowing down.

Our Story as Told by Dorota Kozinska

Learn about the Foundation’s story through Dorota Kozinska’s pen. A Montreal author and literary critic, she is above all a friend and supporter of the foundation.