New DHMC Patient Pavilion uses art to promote healing

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 4:42 PM EDT
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LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) - The new Patient Pavilion at Dartmouth Health has begun accepting patients. And as Adam Sullivan reports, the art on display is by design.

When you think of a hospital, you don’t exactly think of art. But at Dartmouth Health’s new Patient Pavilion, it’s the first thing that catches the eye.

“And that is what I call a high real estate spot,” said Marianne Barthel, Dartmouth Health’s arts and humanities director:

Bright stained glass, created by Dover artist Caroline Parent greets patients in the entryway at the new patient tower. It’s one of several pieces throughout the building, including a 1,000-piece, five-story ceramic wall sculpture by Brattleboro artist Natalie Blake. QR codes on the walls throughout allow viewers to learn more about what they see.

“Art can contribute to healing and creating a more relaxed environment. When you think about it, most people walking into a hospital setting are a little bit stressed,” Barthel said. And she says studies show interacting with art is a stress reliever.

On this day, Windsor painter Amy Hook-Therrien is hanging her watercolors in patient rooms. “I actually like to focus a lot on the imperfections of nature -- so, like a torn leaf,” Hook-Therrien said. Fitting images, since patients receiving care likely have imperfections of their own. “I hope that it makes them happy and, you know, make them forget about why they might be here for a little bit, even if it is just for a second.”

“It’s part of our holistic approach to health care here at Dartmouth Health,” Barthel explained. And that includes the biophilic design of the building -- including large windows -- which intentionally incorporate the outside world, and which studies have shown are good for a person’s overall health. “Whether its a view of nature or having art that includes nature, or natural materials, like the wood on the walls here -- which is reclaimed wood.”

All of the art in the pavilion is permanent, however rotating galleries in the main building change with the seasons, giving patients a new look as they continue their road to recovery.

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Dartmouth Health cuts ribbon on $150M Patient Pavilion