Healing Art

The Blue Lady

Her graceful form, quiet confidence, and flowing blue dress attract and comfort many people. The Blue Lady, a ceramic sculpture by renowned artist, Barbara Kaufman, occupies one of the many Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Centers pathway gardens in memory of her husband. At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The Blue Lady

Recognizing art’s value in health care, the DHMC Art Program enhances the corridors with fine art, photography, and sculpture. Outside, the garden paths with flowers, ornamental shrubs, and sculptures offer patients and visitors respite and comfort. She inspired a painting by New Hampshire artist Carla Zwahlen, who walked the corridors with her husband when he battled cancer.

During the last week, I shared with my husband that his hospital room became our home. On a warm June morning, when he sensed my courage begin to crumble, knowing what lay ahead. He encouraged me to go outside and walk in the gardens, and I did. There, I met the Blue Lady sculpture, and I stopped. Her graceful stance, chin-up, and hand on hip symbolized defiance, perhaps courage in facing a challenge in her world. As I stood there, she reminded me of the only request my husband asked of me when we entered the cancer journey, “You must be brave.” I returned to Werner knowing that I could not change our circumstances, but with a renewed commitment to honoring his request by trusting God to help me give the gift of my courage on our last journey together. He did.

Zwahlen’s own Blue Lady, a vertical pastel piece, hangs near the North Entrance of DHMC.” Zwahlen’s story behind the Blue Lady Painting is displayed next to the painting. Encouragement for other patients and families battling cancer.