By ALYSSA MURPHY – Williamsport Sun-Gazette
February 6, 2012Paintings, photographs, ceramic tiles and sculptures. With all of the artwork in Susquehanna Tower, set to open within the month, it could be confused with a gallery.
But the artwork serves as more than just a beautification of the newest section of the Williamsport Regional Medical Center.
Medical research indicates that art is helpful in promoting healing. It helps reduce stress, enhance patient care and reduce a patient’s stay in the hospital, said Tracie L. Witter, director of corporate communications for Susquehanna Health.
The works of more than 70 local artists will be on display throughout the tower, 700 High St., which will be open to the public for the first time during an open house from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 26.
The building, which cost about $150 million, was designed to please aesthetically and cater to the art of healing.
“When you start a new renovation, there is an opportunity to create neutral colors to promote healing,” Witter said.
Beds are placed in the rooms to allow in the most light with an outdoor view.
Nearly 400 pieces of artwork will provide a distraction to patients. The artwork also helps in another way. “It helps the patients feel more at home,” she said.
For artwork to be selected for the tower, which had a groundbreaking in Fall 2009, it had to be inspirational, healing or reflect Susquehanna Health’s mission of extending God’s healing love by improving the health of those it serves.
Some of the pieces include a dramatic ceiling installation at the Susquehanna Tower entrance, sculpted by Rob Fisher Studio; a larger metal sculpture in the atrium by Mike Patterson that reflects the movement of the Susquehanna River; and a woven textile piece called “The Friendship Bracelet: A Community Event” by Jackie Thompson, which was created primarily by community children to celebrate the 2008 Governor’s Arts Awards celebration here.
The public open house will have self-guided tours, giveaways, Wii Fit stations, airbrush painters and refreshments.
“We want thousands of people to come,” Witter said. “We want families to come.”
The open house will provide a first look at the high-tech operating suites, the state-of-the-art emergency room, the private single-occupancy patient rooms and the newest comprehensive orthopedics unit.