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Published in CenterView on November 25, 2013
Joely Henderson, childlife specialist, and patient Aiden Johnson tour the Gitter Gallery artwork.
Joely Henderson, childlife specialist, and patient Aiden Johnson tour the Gitter Gallery artwork.

New Orleans artists’ collection livens up Batson, Wiser hallway

By Jen Hospodor

The New Orleans-based Gitter Gallery recently donated a collection of American folk art to Batson Children’s Hospital.

The collection of 30 pieces found a home on the first-floor hallway leading to Batson and Wiser Hospitals and was unveiled last week at a special reception.

Hospital staff, patients and others passing through the hallway marveled at the vibrancy of the works and remarked at how the art had livened up a once-bland hallway.

“We work very hard to create a child-friendly atmosphere in Batson Children’s Hospital and this addition is an incredible step in that direction,” said Terri Gillespie, Children’s of Mississippi chief nursing officer.

Gillespie said there is evidence that art has positive benefits in a health-care setting, including reducing patients’ stress and anxiety.

Doug Gitter, who owns Gitter Gallery with his wife, Cathy, said these benefits were the motivation for the donation.

“I believe that art helps heal and if, for a moment in time, it can help take the child away from the injury, adversity or illness that brought them here in the first place, then it will have accomplished not only the artists’ mission, but my mission as well,” Gitter said.

The Gitters have made similar donations to children’s hospitals and other health-care facilities throughout the country.

“Since the gallery was unveiled, I have seen many parents studying the art and it makes me smile to know that maybe, for just a bit, this can alleviate some of their fears and worries about their children,” Gillespie said.