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Creative Arts Program

Patient with painting

At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), we believe that experiencing visual art, literary arts and music can be therapeutic and contribute to a person's sense of well-being. The Creative Arts Program is a collaboration between Dartmouth-Hitchcock Arts, Norris Cotton Cancer Center Support Services, and the Palliative Care Program, and is supported through philanthropy. If you are interested in supporting the creative arts program please contact Marianne Barthel, or donate online to the Arts Program.

Our Creative Arts Program offers one-on-one experiences for patients in the hospital, infusion suites and waiting areas with our Visual Artist, Literary Artist and Therapeutic Harpist. To schedule a visit from one of our Creative Arts Specialists, please call (603) 650-8930 or email Although our staff is only available for limited hours, we will do our best to accommodate your request.

The Creative Arts Program has an annual event, Telling Our Stories Through Word and Image, which showcases the creative writing and visual art done by cancer patients and their families. You can download the 2017 Anthology (PDF, 5.3 MB) or contact Support Services at to receive a copy.

Visual artist

Chris Henderson with patient

Exploring with paint, pencil, with color and texture, and using your hands to create can feel uplifting, playful and soothing. Chris Henderson, visual artist with the Creative Arts Program works with patients on their artistic journey in the Infusion Suite or on inpatient units. Chris can help you find your own place of expression or can create art for you. No previous art experience is needed.

Art Space Workshops for cancer patients

Presented by Chris Henderson, Visual Artist. Art-making can be a healing activity. Explore your creative voice in paint, colored pencil, canvas, collage, air dried clay and other art materials in an airy studio. Join us for one or all studio art workshops. No art experience is needed. All persons with a current or previous cancer diagnosis and their loved ones are invited to attend.

Workshops take place on Sunday afternoons, 2:00 to 4:00 pm. See the Norris Cotton Cancer Center Patients, Families, and Community events calendar for dates.

Literary artist

Marv and patient

Marv Klassen-Landis brings more than 20 years of experience teaching in the literary arts to the Creative Arts Program. He offers patients and their families the opportunity to write poetry, prose or letters, or to listen as Marv reads to them. People are often surprised by the power of their own words when transcribed by Marv.

See the Norris Cotton Cancer Center Patients, Families, and Community events calendar for dates.

Therapeutic harpist

Certified Harp Practitioner Margaret Stephens uses music — melody, rhythm, tones, harmony — to meet the physical, mental and emotional needs of Cancer Center patients and their families at the bedside, and in outpatient areas of the Cancer Center. While playing her 23-string harp, Margaret creates a "cradle of sound" to support for the individual's journey of healing, wholeness and growth.


A Certified Harp Practitioner is a trained, therapeutic musician who uses the harp to aid the healing process of body, mind, and spirit. The music practitioner observes, intuits, and listens to the client's needs, then chooses musical styles, tempos, rhythms, modes, and melodies that are appropriate to meeting those needs. The goal is to create a "sound space" or a "cradle of sound" to support the listener in his or her journey of healing.

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