The Winter Art Exhibition at the Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) will be extended indefinitely
Mar 19, 2020 11:56AM
By Virginia Dean
About the Curator: Marianne Barthel is the Director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Arts Program. In this, she curates all permanent art at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) as well as the art shown in DHMC’s eight rotating gallery spaces. The Arts Program also consists of talented performance volunteers, research initiatives in arts and humanities in healthcare and a creative arts team consisting of a writer-in-residence, a therapeutic harpist and a visual artist. She has presented on the local, regional and national level about the role of arts in health and is currently the leader of the National Organization for Arts in Health’s New England Regional Network.
Q: As a curator, you’re expected to recognize and add valuable pieces to the collection. Can you identify the strengths and weaknesses – the uniqueness - of your exhibit?
A. With each exhibit in our
eight gallery spaces, we try to offer variety both from gallery to gallery and from season to season.
This allows us to show a diverse array of art. In Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s Winter Exhibit, our
strengths and uniqueness were in our
diversity: we had everything from classical oils & pastels to creative
collage and exquisite marquetry.
Q: How did you choose the art for the exhibit? In other words, how does your interaction with an artist evolve from your initial encounter with their work to studio visit and then to the realization of a museum exhibition?
A. I typically meet the artist on-site at DHMC after viewing their work either in studio or on-line. We walk the different gallery spaces to see what the best fit is for their art based on a variety of factors related both to the space itself and the art. How big is their art? Is it soothing, especially for our areas heavily traveled by patients. Is it big enough for the space? We have some very large walls in our galleries. What color are the walls in the space? Is there direct sunlight?
Q: What is your personal view on preserving history through the art shown in the exhibit?
A. My personal view is to both preserve history and serve as a conduit to represent our current world and the issues facing our communities today. This will, in turn, preserve history for the future. For example, we have pieces in our permanent collection that reflect both our history as a hospital as well as the country’s history. We have also hosted exhibits that address community issues such as disabilities and mental health.
Q. Please describe how you displayed the artwork in the exhibit – the rationale behind it.
A. The rationale behind all our exhibits is to provide a healing, uplifting environment for our patients, visitors, and staff. I do take special care in selecting the art for each space. For instance, in the Cancer Center galleries, I strive to provide more calming, peaceful art. In some of our other galleries, I am open to utilizing art that is more modern and less familiar.
Q. What is your curatorial philosophy?
A. My curatorial philosophy is to create a healing, uplifting environment for patients, visitors and staff of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Whether it is only a distraction or something else, the art brings relief or joy in times of stress, art can transport us. Each piece can be a story either the story the artist is telling, the story that is envisioned when the viewer experiences it or the story of why the viewer is in that particular space at that specific time.