We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us - CODAworx

We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us

Client: University Medical Center, New Orleans

Location: New Orleans, LA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $400,000

Project Team


Ben Olmstead


Simon Donovan

Simon Donovan LLC


“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us”, New Orleans, LA, 2018, 30’ x 13’ x 13’. Comprised of tens of thousands stainless steel washers each individually welded to the next, over a stainless steel tube structure. It is a symbol of diversity, cooperation and trust and building on a community's history. Budget $400,000. Office of Cultural Development Division of the Arts Percent for Art Program.


The new University Medical Center in New Orleans, LA replaced former local hospital facilities. This work is a site-specific as well as thematic-specific response to the suffering of the patients at Charity, Truro , and other hospitals damaged in New Orleans in the days following hurricane Katrina. It is meant as a monument to the countless acts of heroism of medical personnel who stayed by their patients’ sides, often hand-pumping breathing machines to keep newborns alive as the power went out. A tribute to the people of New Orleans but especially to those brave souls, both patients and medical titans who persevered despite the devastation all around them.


The process from design to fabrication involved a 3D imaging designer, a structural engineer and a crew of fabricators. Fifteen larger-than-life figures were carved from urethane and coated with hydrocal. Thousands of stainless steel washers were then welded to one another in chain-mail fashion over the plaster forms, creating a “skin” that was then removed and reassembled over a stainless steel tube armature. Amber colored LED’s create a golden cast when illuminated at night.

Additional Information

http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2018/02/ university_hospital_sculpture.html