Thursday, June 1, 2017
By Jordyn Grzelewski
Going to the hospital can be a scary experience for children.
That’s why designers of Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley Beeghly Campus’s expanded Building A, which is set to open for patients this summer, aimed to give the building a warm, whimsical feel.
Helping to create that vibe is the “Dreaming Tree,” a colorful sculpture that hangs on a wall near the main entrance. The hospital unveiled the work of art to reporters Wednesday.
“I wanted something big and playful to greet them on their way in to better health,” said Adam May of Hasenstab Architects, who coordinated the creation of the sculpture.
When the hospital began to look at options for a signature piece of art to install at the expanded building, May reached out Tony Nicholas of the nonprofit organization “Artists of the Rustbelt.”
Together, the two of them devised the concept for the Dreaming Tree, then enlisted local creators to bring it to life.
Woodwork artist Greg Webber made the 8-foot sculpture. Freshmade 3D, a Youngstown Business Incubator company, printed 3-D animals to install around the tree, and Laurie Anderson and May painted it.
Lisa Taafe, clinical administrative director for the hospital, said the hospital is happy with the results.
“The kids, and the colors – they will definitely enjoy it,” she said. “We were really thrilled we were able to find some local talent in the Mahoning Valley.”
Also in the expanded Building A, 150 photos, oil pastels and watercolor paintings created by Valley students will be on permanent display, something Akron Children’s does at its other buildings as well.
Also, 25 photographs taken by hospital employees will be on display.
The theme of Building A’s artwork is “Back to Nature.” Middle- and high-school students from Liberty, Austintown, Canfield and Boardman contributed artwork.
The building is slated to open to patients July 11. The community is invited to the free “Naturefest” event June 17, which will celebrate the expansion project. Guests can tour the new building that day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.