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The art of dentistry: Brooks Dental Studio

Art and molars meet in downtown Tacoma

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“We wanted to do something with the extra space,” explains Dr. Jamie Brooks, who, with her husband, Tim, is putting the finishing touches on the Tacoma Theater District’s newest addition — Brooks Dental Studio. Some of that space has become an art gallery.

Jamie and Tim bought the downtown location that would become the new home to Dr. Brook’s dental practice nearly a year ago, and began building out the former automobile garage space some five months ago. Jamie began treating patients in the transformed space two weeks ago.

“We wanted to preserve some of the architecture that was here,” Tim Brooks, who works for Microsoft as a program manager, says. The resulting professional space thus retains its exposed concrete walls and beamed wooden ceiling, with added elements of wood and metal that complete a generally modern/industrial design picture. The couple hired a Seattle architectural firm to design the transformation.

“They’d never done a dental practice before,” Jamie recalls. But together, the architects, Jamie and Tim pieced together what the former parking garage would become. “We had a sense of the way that we wanted to use the space,” Jamie says, “and … it evolved.”

Dr. Jamie Brooks grew up in Lakewood, graduating from Bellarmine and later from the University of Washington, first in dental hygiene, and later from the school of dentistry. She practiced in Gig Harbor and then in Olympia before deciding with her husband to create a new practice in downtown Tacoma.

But how did the vision for that new practice come to include exhibition space for works of art? Jamie explains her practice philosophy as centering around “personalized care.”

“We want it to be a completely different experience from what (patients) expect and what they are used to,” she says. “We want them to feel that they’re not just coming to a dental office. We want them to relax. … We want to be able to offer the patient something besides great dental treatment.”

The practice currently has two dental “operatories” — treatment areas. One portion of the adapted environment has been transformed into a front reception area — another has become a gallery space. The first featured artist at Brooks Dental Studio is Lisa Kinoshita, a jewelry artist who maintains a shop of her own in Tacoma’s Dome District — and also happens to be Jamie Brooks’ aunt.

“It just seemed appropriate,” Brooks says of the decision to feature her aunt’s work for the studio’s first official showing. “She’s really supportive of us, and I love her art and jewelry.”

For her part, Kinoshita is happy to be included in the new space’s inauguration. “I was wowed by it,” Kinoshita recalls of seeing what Jamie and Tim had done with the Theater District building. She had also seen the space before the couple began working on it. “It was like a bunker,” Kinoshita says.

“It’s all come together,” she adds of the five months of work Jamie and Tim have put in. For Kinoshita, the studio’s design and the inclusion of displayed art “make it a little less scary” from a patient’s perspective.

“And it’s more interesting than looking at copies of People magazine,” she adds.

Brooks Dental Studio is holding an open house today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited. For more information, visit

Artists interested in submitting works for future display — the exhibits will be changed about every three months — are encouraged to contact Jamie and Tim through the Web site. To make an appointment, call 253.777.0600.

To learn more about Lisa Kinoshita’s work with semi-precious stones and metal, visit the artist’s Web site at

Brooks Dental Studio, 732 Broadway Suite #101, Tacoma, 253.777.0600

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