Connection / Spectrum Health Lakeland Medical Pavilion, St. Joseph, 2019 / Corten Steel / “Connection” depicts two hands meeting, their fingertips touching. The slight curve of each arm draws the distinctive helix structure of a strand of DNA. As one curves clockwise and the other counterclockwise, they represent two genetic codes meeting and the coming together of all human beings. And in their meeting, they also represent the healing touch of those who work in health care and those who reach out to seek treatment. For each and every person, “Connection” brings us together. It is written in our DNA.
As a medical institution dedicated to healing and caring for St. Joseph's communities, and a space that will be used by medics, as well as by patients of all ages and demographics, the team at Spectrum Health Lakeland felt that integrating artwork into the new Pavilion was extremely important. Southwest Michigan comprises people of many racial and ethnic backgrounds, and national origins. The donors aimed to select an artist and art concept that expressed notions of racial and ethnic equity and inclusion – that would create a welcoming and healing experience for all those who seek care at Lakeland. The work needed to be inspirational, aspirational and convey a sense of social and racial healing of individuals and the community at large. Moreover, it needed to fit perfectly with the welcoming, elegant and luminous designs for the pavilions interior; to convey all of the commission's goals in a design at once easy to read and full of meaning and inclusivity.
This project counted on close collaboration between the artist, the artwork's donors, its commissioners at Spectrum Health Lakeland, the Medical Pavilion's architectural & engineering teams, and project consultant Susan Wilczac. The original design that Casto submitted was met with much enthusiasm, and after having been commissioned, all parties collaborated closely to decide on the parameters for artwork's placement within the Pavilion, as well as its dimensions, materials, aesthetic and finish. Casto then moved into an intensive development phase to perfect the artwork's designs, which then fed into principal fabrication. Installation was coordinated in advance of the artwork's arrival in collaboration with the Pavilion's architect, Phil Cooper, and the artwork was delivered to the site with pre-configured anchoring systems already fitted, which permitted a swift and easy installation onto the wall that houses the piece within the Pavilion.
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