With an entrance that is as much art gallery as hospital lobby, Community Hospital North's impressive art collection now extends beyond the front doors to greet patients, families and visitors before they set foot inside. Two outdoor sculptural pieces, titled "Brick Garden" and "Second Assembly," are the latest addition to the hospital's external space and the first in a new series of planned installations.
A collaboration intended to benefit both the art community and world of health care, the partnership between Community Health Network Foundation and Indiana University's Herron School of Art and Design is one that both parties hope will be long-lasting.
Student Lola Dinger worked with fiberglass, cast concrete and resin to create the larger-than-life, whimsical potted flowers she calls "Brick Garden." The undersides of the brightly hued petals were painted to mimic the exterior brick wall of the hospital behind them. The manmade composition of these usually organic forms encapsulates Dinger's desire to express a message of social adaptation, and is also meant "to offer a short escape from reality in a 'Green Eggs and Ham' kind of world," she says. Hers is a powerful message of the human ability to transform and adapt to a changing environment.
The other new sculptural installation, "Second Assembly," was constructed by student artist Thomas Streit. Inspired not by the destruction but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Streit found vision in the way "we pick up the pieces," following disaster with new beginnings. The large, black iron beams of Streit's sculpture are representative of the splintered and fallen trees Katrina left behind. However, the pieces are laid out in a way that makes them appear as new offshoots of growth upon each other. Groupings of galvanized steel ringlets embody cell-like bacteria creating new organisms, again representing the idea of new growth. Streit calls his style "Dude Art," which he explains is art that begs the spectator to stop, observe and be moved to utter the word "dude."
Bill Kingston, president of Community Health Network Foundation, says the partnership could be a model for other businesses to emulate. The arrangement not only highlights Herron's master of fine arts program, but also provides a juried setting for new artists to showcase their work. "The hospital welcomes 125,000 visitors every month," says Kingston, "meaning that in a year's time, more than one million people will potentially see these pieces."
Valerie Eickmeier, dean of the Herron School of Art and Design, says the partnership with Community to display local art has become a labor of love for all involved. "It allows us to recruit talent to our community and provide something unique to potential students," she says, noting that Herron currently has students hailing from 10 states and three countries.
Dozens of Community Health Network employees and members of the Community Hospital North Volunteer Auxiliary gathered October 7, 2008, for the dedication of the Healing Garden, which is located next to the Rollins Family Chapel.
Installed during the summer and recently completed, the Healing Garden was made possible by a generous financial donation from the Community Hospital North Volunteer Auxiliary.
This extension of the Next Evolution at Community Hospital North was designed to create a peaceful, inspirational and meditative environment for patients, families, friends and employees to gather in times of need. The Healing Garden is planted with a combination of perennials and annuals and features a waterfall and an original sculpture from Indiana artist Scott Westphal.
The dedication featured remarks from Community Hospital North President Barbara Summers and Community Health Network Foundation Board Chair Yvonne Shaheen. Sharon Gilchrest and Joyce Eaton, leaders of the Community Hospital North Volunteer Auxiliary, represented the Auxiliary and Connie Coy, director of chaplaincy services, concluded the dedication with an inspirational poem and a prayer.
During the event, Darrell Day, a pianist who volunteers and often performs in the Gallery, played “These Healing Hands,” an original song he wrote for the dedication.