• Friends Programs

    Artwork provides way to 'get lost' on Dana 1

    art-committee.jpgWith "Sylvan Shoals" behind them, committee members examine a series of pieces with the art consultant. 

    Breathe in the serenity of Roy Lichtenstein's untitled landscape. Notice his use of blue dots to accentuate the calm of the water. Imagine pedaling alongside the woman in Alex Katz's "Bicycle Rider" on a breezy spring day.

    Or lose yourself in the explosion of neon pink and yellow in Andy Warhol's three "Kiku" flower screen prints. The pieces appear to be illuminated from within by electric light, but are merely printed on paper.

    A collection of works by Lichtenstein, Katz, and Warhol sounds like a pop art exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Yet, this show is ready for viewing any day of the week at Dana-Farber in the Abraham D. Gosman Adult Clinic on Dana 1, thanks to the efforts of Dana-Farber's Art and Environment Committee. "We believe that art helps and encourages the healing process for patients and their families," says chair Jane Mayer of the committee, which is overseen by the Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

    The art mentioned above and other colorful creations by well- and lesser-known artists were secured with a generous gift from Dana-Farber Trustee Betty Ann Blum as part of the Friends' mission to enhance the ambiance of patient and staff areas. Additionally, a large number of pieces were selected as a result of grants from the Friends and other individuals in memory of loved ones.

    The committee, composed of trustees, staff, patient representatives, and Friends members, labors to raise funds, works in conjunction with architects to develop space for art at Dana-Farber, and then selects and places it.

    Detailed process

    Take the etching on Dana 1 by pop art great Claes Oldenburg. Entitled "Proposal for a Colossal Monument in Downtown New York City: Sharpened Pencil Stub with Broken-off Tip of the Woolworth Building," it is a piece to ponder. The viewer gets a glimpse into the mind of the artist and can envision the humorous sight of this giant pencil constructed in the middle of Manhattan.

    Pop art by definition elevates the mundane to the unique. According to Mayer, the theme for Dana 1 is lightheartedness. To accomplish this, the committee put to use various media – lithographs, silk screens, oil on canvas, watercolors, paint on wood – choosing pieces that are whimsical in nature and allow the viewer to contemplate a piece rather than just glance at it.

    Works by major pop artists were placed in the main waiting area, while additional contemporary artworks by other artists – which are similar in feel to the pop art – hang as a complement in corridors. A number of poster prints and less expensive photographs round out the collection and can be found in exam rooms and conference spaces, bringing the total pieces, including those relocated from other areas, to 53.

    The process of choosing new art takes up to nine months from the initial plan, budget, and proposal, and involves several rigorous reviews before pieces are installed. Patient and staff reactions are then collected one more time to ensure everything is acceptable.

    The Friends have previously enhanced areas on Dana 9, 10, 11, L1 and L2, the first floor vestibule and auditorium in the Jimmy Fund Building, the Dana 1 main lobby, and the area for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on Dana L1.

    "We've had a lot of positive comments from patients, family members, and staff," says Karen Schulte, RN, BSN, OCN, nurse manager on Dana 1. "I was a staff representative who reviewed preselected pieces – and all were great choices."

    For more information on Dana-Farber artwork or the Art and Environment Committee, contact the Friends' office at 617-632-3021. 

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