The Pond Series

Submitted by Rachel Merrell

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Client: St. John's Health Foundation

Location: Jackson, WY, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $49,000

Project Team

Other

Blair Christy

St. John's Health

Public Art Agent

Carrie Geraci

Jackson Hole Public Art

Overview

Adam Wolpert’s “Pond Series” is a full twelve-month cycle of 70 paintings of the same size (12 x 18” panels) and same view, completed in 2016. He paints oil on wood panels. Wolpert painted this pond and tree, located on his property in West Sonoma County, California, each month to capture the nature of life itself.
A passionate artist from an early age, Wolpert explored the media of performance, ceramics, sculpture, and collage before turning seriously to painting while earning his BFA from the University of California Santa Barbara. He completed an MFA at UC San Diego.

Goals

The lobby of St. John’s Health is where patients, their families, and visitors wait for appointments with providers, to get their blood drawn, before heading to a sleep lab or for a scan. In a Medical Center, people waiting for an appointment are often anxious about the unknown. A welcoming environment that is comfortable, offers privacy, natural light, and has art that fits evidence-based healing criteria can produce clinical benefits. Patients who are exposed to a calming environment are more relaxed, experience less anxiety and stress, and generally have shorter hospital stays. Thoughtfully integrating art into the lobby was a top priority of the St. John’s Art Committee when the lobby and Wellness Corridor were remodeled in 2017. The Pond Series was carefully selected for the lobby based on a body of research that the Cleveland Clinic compiled. Looking at art that meets particular criteria can help patients heal faster, reduce anxiety, fatigue, and distress. The Pond Series invites people to contemplate the peaceful location, the changing of seasons, and to be drawn into the work, creating a window into the nature of life itself, a welcome distraction from the many stressful reasons that bring people to the hospital.

Process

In September 2018, a generous contribution was made to St. John’s Health Foundation to enable the purchase of the Pond Series for St. John’s Health, the community hospital for Teton County and the surrounding areas. The donor who made the acquisition possible proposed that the content, colors, size, and story of the Pond Series would help create a healing space. The St. John’s Art and Healing Committee wholeheartedly agreed. The Pond Series was meant to be in the newly renovated lobby. The body of work fits perfectly on two adjacent walls. It is a signature installation for the St. John’s Art and Healing Program, embodying the healing criteria that help to make the welcome lobby a healing environment. Research shows that patients who are exposed to art that is calming, positive, and affirming have lower rates of pain, shorter hospital stays, and generally experience better clinical outcomes. Patients, visitors, and employees comment time and again on how wonderful the Pond Series is. On any given day, visitors are standing at the installation, contemplating Adam’s creation.

Additional Information

While each individual painting is exquisite, the body of work viewed as a whole is profound. At first glance, the paintings appear to be a series of copies and it’s not until you settle on one image after another that you step across the threshold into real seeing and are invited into a parallel world in which you notice subtle changes in light and shadow in a way that draws you into another way of seeing. You are pulled into a slower pace of life, to shed the layers of rush and chatter, a direct relationship with Nature.