Integral Spaces

Submitted by Clare Hirn

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Client: UofL HealthCare Outpatient Center

Location: Louisville, USA

Completion date: 2009

Artwork budget: $20,000

Project Team

Artist

Clare Hirn

Client

Elizabeth Walden

U of L HealthCare Outpatient Center

Art Consultant

Ann Drury

Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft

Industry Resource

Brian Atchley

Overview

“Integral Spaces”, a mixed-media piece, greets people in the patient drop-off lobby in the UofL Health Care Outpatient Center. It is viewed comprehensively immediately upon entering. Comprised of four panels, each a different size and shape, “Integral Spaces” celebrates natural areas of Louisville, KY. This proposal was selected from 18 invited submissions. The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft facilitated the commission process and was involved throughout the project’s completion. The canvas panels were installed using a professional wallpapering process. Wood molding frames each panel. The overall dimensions are 12’ x 16’ 2”.

Goals

After the space was completed, a variety of artists working in different media were invited to submit proposals for this specific wall. It was very important to the client to work with a regional artist. As the field narrowed, selected artists presented their proposals in more detail to the 10-person committee (comprised of physicians, staff, and outside experts) until the final selection was made. This process also allowed me to better understand the goals of the selection committee. They sincerely enjoyed going through the process, which I believe was educational to all involved and was instrumental in discovering how the artwork would integrate into the space.

The committee agreed with the thought behind my proposal, that each of us should have a place to go to enjoy a moment of peacefulness, and often this is found in landscape, either urban or natural. This mural aims to celebrate the details and tranquil moments of Louisville. The four differently sized and shaped canvases allows freedom to explore a variety of spaces and details and to present the painting in a more interesting compositional manner. By opening space between the canvases, the treated wall is expanded without feeling congested or overwhelming.

Process

The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft was asked to help with the commissioning process. Ann Drury was instrumental in establishing all communications and guiding the process throughout its entirety. Her experience in working with artists and with clients facilitated a smooth process. After the committee made their selection, a representative of UofL HealthCare and their designer made regularly scheduled visits to the studio to view the artwork in progress. Details and any modifications were discussed and addressed. A few specific requests arose as the painting progressed, such as incorporating the medical symbol, the Caduceus.

For installation, the areas of the wall receiving the canvases were prepared very specifically. Brian Atchley, the installer, and I had collaborated in the past and had previously made samples of different pastes and primers. The areas of the wall that would receive the murals are primed in such a way that the murals could be relocated in the future if ever needed. Once applied to the wall, the canvases were trimmed and handmade molding was put into place to frame out the images, giving a picture window effect, as well as protecting edges.

Additional Information

I sincerely enjoy the collaborative aspect of public artwork, particularly within the healthcare setting. The problem solving, having to respond to specific needs, and the creative expansion when working toward a goal with others is immensely rewarding. Even more rewarding is the positive feedback so sincerely expressed by viewers, a wide variety of people, from patients to staff, those with previous exposure to artwork and those with virtually none. We are realizing more and more how universally the human nature needs, responds to, and thrives upon our creative characters.