Client: Renown Health
Location: Reno, NV, United States
Completion date: 2010
The three healing garden sculptures were designed around the common human perception that natural rhythms in nature, waves, clouds and light are what inspire and contribute to the healing process. There was an unstoppable energy to this project; everyone involved believed so wholeheartedly that art would make a meaningful contribution to everyone who came here. This was one of the most unique experiences I have ever had. To this day I receive comments from visitors to the garden. They share stories with me about their time in the garden and how it became a part of their total healing experience.
Art and the healing process is what this project was all about. I wanted to design works that were about perception, nature and the passage of time. The sphere was based on a childhood experience. While wandering through Chinatown, I discovered a Chinese puzzle ball. I was fascinated with the round surface and the angular interior puzzle pieces. I paid a quarter and kept that ball until I gave it to Turkey Stremmel for her support in this project. The healing garden "Sphere of Cubes" contains 3800 welds. The protruding ends of each rod cut to the radius of the sphere; all of the elements intersect while the sculpture rotates very slowly. The "Wind Column" uses 20,000 aluminum discs individually suspended from swivel pins. The slightest breeze turns the air currents into a visual expression; the shimmering waves reflect light and bounce it. The "Column that Supports the Sky" is placed in the center of a labyrinth. It acts as a referential connection between earth and sky. This piece is an homage to Brancusi's Endless Column.
This project was unusual in that it didn't have a designated leader. I worked with a team of people including Turkey Stremmel, co-owner of the Stremmel Gallery, who brought me into the project, as well as the Director of the Hospital, the Director of Operations at the Hospital, a landscaping company, and Fianna Combs, who built a healing herb garden who passed away just before the project was completed. At all of our meetings, the floor was open to anyone in the room to participate at the highest level. From day one no one ever said no. Ideas flowed freely, without pettiness or ego.
The project was a bit stalled when I came onboard even though the money was allotted and the team was assembled. It was as if I was the missing piece. We began with 4 months of creative conversations followed by 8 months of building, installation, and finishing. Prior to the work I did, many, many wonderful works of art were carefully selected and placed throughout the interior of the hospital. To the credit of the team and their commitment to healing this facility is often thought of as a museum with a purpose.