St. Jude in Healing Garden, St. Jude Medical Center - CODAworx

St. Jude in Healing Garden, St. Jude Medical Center

Submitted by Karen Schmidt Sculpture

Client: St. Jude Medical Center

Location: Fullerton, CA, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team


Karen Schmidt

Karen Schmidt Sculpture

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Mark Bucknam, Construction Manager

Petra Integrated Construction Strategies

Landscape Architect

Bill Rabben

Rabben/Herman Design

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Mike Hernandez

Healthcare Design & Construction, LLC

Interior Designer

Julie Needham

Healthcare Design & Construction, LLC


Karen Cannizzaro, VP facilities and plant operations

St. Jude Medical Center

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Brett Barney

American Fine Arts Foundry


Sr. Mary Therese Sweeny, CSJ

Sisters of St. Joseph, Orange, CA


St. Jude is in the Healing Garden of the Northwest Tower of St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton, California. The 4,136 square-foot Healing Garden is on the 4th floor, open to the sky, and surrounded by two floors of patient room windows, The 54-inch bronze figure of St. Jude stands on a 20” granite pedestal, surrounded on three sides by benches and large planters. Glass doors open to a path through the 94-foot long space, creating the sense of a journey. Seating areas are surrounded with tall planters and trees, creating private spaces for rest, relaxation, and contemplation.


“Caring by design” expresses the intent of the design team for the Northwest Tower of the St. Jude Medical Center. The 200,000-square-foot tower contains 14 leading-edge surgical suites, including a neurological suite with intra-operative MRI, two floors of patient rooms, a cafeteria, and waiting areas, providing world-class care and giving the gift of hope. Recognizing that excellent care is more than just physical treatment, the design for the building includes the Healing Garden for patients, staff, families, and visitors. The quiet beauty of the garden, and the presence of the statue of St. Jude provide a space for healing the heart and spirit. The minimal style of the sculpture fits beautifully with the modern design of the building, while the gesture and expression communicates compassion and hope. The Sisters of St. Joseph, Orange have been an integral part of hospital since it’s founding. St. Jude is the patron saint of the medical center.


Artist Karen Schmidt was commissioned to sculpt St. Jude after the Healing Garden was completed. She met with the building and design committee to glean their vision and intent for the artwork, and then was able to sit in the garden alone to experience the space and beauty. After creating the 12-inch clay model, she presented it to the design committee, and they all proceeded to the garden to ascertain the best location and position for the statue. Karen then sculpted the full-size “St. Jude,” keeping the committee informed of the progress. American Fine Art Foundry cast the bronze sculpture. One particular challenge was to design and construct a base that would meet the seismic requirements for mounting the sculpture and pedestal to the concrete floor. Mike Bucknam, construction manager and Mike Hernandez, engineer worked with Brett Barney, owner of American Fine Art Foundry, and Rolando Marciel, of Marble Bases to design and construct a stainless-steel box and granite cover to exact specifications. OSHPD conducted a torque test, and approved the inspection. The bronze sculpture was installed, and the box closed and sealed. It was an innovative collaborative process that illustrates the core values of the design team.

Additional Information

The design-build team of St. Jude Medical Center, Petra-Integrated Construction Strategies, McCarthy Building Companies and Taylor Design was awarded the prestigious Design-Build Institute of America Project of the Year award and also the highest honor “Diamond Award” at the Annual International Partnering Institute Awards; recognizing best practices in collaboration and outcome.