River of Life - CODAworx

River of Life

Client: Hennepin Healthcare Foundation

Location: Minneapolis, MN, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $230,000

Project Team

Art Consultant

Vicki Hovde

Dorsey Hovde Art Design


Martin Donlin

Martin Dnlin Ltd

Industry Resource

Peters Studio LLC

Peters Studio LLC


A tower of suspended art glass on stainless steel cables rising over 4 floors in the new Hennepin County Medical Centre in Minneapolis Minnesota. The glass is all hand painted in virtuous ceramic enamels laminated between 2 sheets of tempered glass. Each piece has been fired over 5 times on two surfaces to achieve the required colours and textures. A total of over 550 square feet of glass each panel weighing 330 pounds. It was important that the design worked on individual floors from inside yet could be viewed as a complete piece from outside unifying all floors.


The design has been inspired by the meandering of the Mississippi and local surrounding Rivers and Lakes, there confluence and influence on the the draw of people to Minneapolis from all over the world. I have also collaborated with a local poet Laurie Allmann, Laurie has produce a poem “Mirroring The Light” that has inspired the design.


The lower floors of glass are centred around movement of people, migration and coming together as community in Minneapolis, for this I have used a metaphor of a shoal of fish transforming into birds flowing along the meandering river path. On either side are names of lakes in Minneapolis and a reference to Laurie’s chorus in her poem “What LIFE this is” There are translations of the word “LIFE” into a number of HCMC current demographic languages.

Additional Information

The middle floor makes reference to the rich history of the area from Native American drawings of family and healing symbols to an historic map of the River,Lakes and Downtown from 1888. The top floor takes us out of our world and into the heavens above.