Previous ArtCare Program

In cooperation with Dartmouth -Hitchcock Medical Center Arts and Volunteer Services, Healing and the Arts helped create ArtCare - a program designed to improve patient morale and to enhance the process of healing. The program was co-created with the active participation of medical students, patients, artists, hospital volunteers, and health care professionals.

A growing team of artists and Dartmouth students have been volunteering their time and creative passions to assist the patients and staff at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in creating a total picture of health. The experience of working with ArtCare is a challenging one. It is also extremeley rewarding and unique. The bonds that are forged through the process of art intervention into medical science can change both the volunteers outlook on life and the life of the patients they work with. ArtCare provides a number of volunteer opportunities, (listed in the Resources section of this site) for students, hospital staff, and community members.

Art programs in hospitals provide many benefits. Scientific research proves that blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration can be positively effected by exposure to the arts, stress can be reduced, fears released, and communication improved. Art expression also lifts patient and staff morale. Soothing music can relax tense muscles, promote rest, and relieve troubled moods, and creativity can relieve boredom for hospital patients.

Two examples of ArtCare program activities are listed here:

"Community" Tile Sculpture
A sun drenched eight-sided atrium near the east entrance of the medical center is the home of a gold, purple and green frieze designed and orchestrated by artist in residence Emile Birch. Patients, staff and community

members created the 512 individual tiles in the installation. Dartmouth students in the ArtCare program assisted patient and community members at tile-making workshops, and assisted with the painting of the tiles. See also: "Favorite Clay Stories", Ceramic Tile Project.

"Stained Glass" Project
ArtCare volunteers worked with patient to identify a personally meaningful image. Identifying the image was a source of uplifting conversation. The image was then rendered in mock stained glass made of colored tissue paper and clear contact paper, for display on a window with light streaming through. The designs were on display for several months in a glass hallway at the hospital, and can be seen in our on-line gallery.

Time Line
Working with patients in the Elder Care and Psych units, ArtCare students involved patients and staff to create a time line of the 20th century. The patients contributed the reminisces of the significant incidents of their lives- then the students/patients worked together to illustrate the Timeline by way of images, articles and artifacts. When the Timeline was completed, it was displayed permanently in the patient care units of the hospital. The Timeline still hangs today still drawing interested on-lookers.....

In addition, ArtCare has Dartmouth students and community volunteers working on art projects at these sites:

  • Pediatric Oncology
  • Neurology
  • The Medical Specialties Unit/ The Elder Life Program
  • The Kendal at Hanover retirement community
  • The DHMC Childcare Center
  • Hematology Oncology Special Care Unit
  • Hanover Street School Behavior Support Program
  • DHMC Occupational Therapy
  • United Developmental Services "Time For Kids"

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