Client: American Cancer Society
Location: Dallas, TX, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $150,000
Brad Oldham Scultpure
Brad Oldham Sculpture
American Cancer Society
“Daffodil Wishes” is an invitation to rub the lantern and make a wish. The quintessential lantern silhouette is made of warm bronze while the silvery smoke emerging from its spout and blooming into a daffodil is made of 316 stainless steel polished to a reflective finish. The stainless steel BIRD perched atop the lantern is witness to all the wishes made and realized. This installation is located near the entrance of the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in the Deep Ellum neighborhood near downtown Dallas and adjacent to Baylor Hospital and Medical Center. At 14 ½ feet tall, the sculpture is engaging and intuitively inspiring as light playfully bounces around the stream of smoke and flower enticing the viewer to look up. We believe that the act of making a wish can uplift our spirits and enable us to believe that anything is possible. As we made the sculpture, we thought of this possibly transformational magic that could help patients and their caregivers fighting cancer.
The American Cancer Society invited us to tour their new facility that was under construction to learn firsthand of its goals for its campus so we could create a site-specific sculpture to greet guests upon arrival while also marking the organization’s location within the neighborhood. The American Cancer Society nurtures a sense of community at its Hope Lodge is a free home away from home for cancer patients and their caregivers that offers a homey setting, shared meal service, laundry rooms, evening activities, and engaging artwork on a campus near world-class medical services.
The goals of the artwork were to:
• Create a warm, memorable welcome to guests checking into Hope Lodge, who are surely facing a difficult time; the reassuring first impressions of Hope Lodge can alleviate some stress;
• Uniquely mark Hope Lodge’s place within the Deep Ellum neighborhood and greater city of Dallas;
• Playfully engage with the neighborhood visitors and residents and delight Hope Lodge guests; and
• Incorporate the supportive feel of the lodge and incorporate imagery from the American Cancer Society.
We worked with teams across the country from the American Cancer Society, Perkins + Will Architects, and Hotels.com, who were underwriting the sculpture, to develop and finalize the design concept and materials for the sculpture. In our original pencil sketch, we showed the ribbon of smoke transforming into a daisy to represent new beginnings and hope. The client asked us to consider a daffodil, which is the official flower of their spring fundraising campaign. The resilient, perennial daffodil is the first one of the first signs of the spring season, and the sale of daffodils generates funds for cancer research, which only enhanced the story behind the sculpture.
We create pencil sketches, 3D models, clay maquettes, shop drawings, and engineering details. The fabrication of the sculpture entailed sculpting the piece at full size, creating a mold from which we created a rigid fiberglass shape that served as a form for the sheets of stainless steel and bronze to be cut and hand hammered into shape. The pieces varied in size, from approximately 4 inches to 10 inches, of different shapes to be welded together and then greatly polished until a smooth reflective finish is achieved. A warm patina was added to the bronze that will continue to “golden” as viewers touched the lantern.
The collaboration with the national team resulted in a stronger, more personal sculpture. We liked the daffodil so much that we incorporated it shape into the lantern lid. Another personal aspect of the sculpture is the "BIRD" perched atop the lid. A version of this "BIRD" was first seen in this very neighborhood in 2009, when we unveiled our three-site installation called "The Traveling Man" for which we are well known. The "BIRD" instantly connects "Daffodil Wishes" with the Deep Ellum neighborhood and means a lot to us personally. From start to installation, we enjoyed many special moments working on "Daffodil Wishes", and we want to share one of the early pieces of information that pointed us in our creative direction. While brainstorming design concepts for Hope Lodge, we discovered the following quote Dr. Anup Patel at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio: “Research shows a wish can give kids the strength to fight against and even overcome a critical illness.” The idea that a wish is something organic that blooms and beautifies the environment around it – and quite possibly physically improves the viewer - is a gift to us as artists.