East Tennessee Children’s Hospital (ETCH) in Knoxville, TN developed an amazing art program for children who stay in or visit the hospital. The original art lifts the spirits of the children, parents and staff who are there every day. I am blessed to say that I got to be one of those artists who help ease the worry and pain of those who pass through.
It began by answering a RFQ (Request For Qualifications) and applying with ETCH. I came up with about 3 ideas for them and they chose “Bunny World.” This idea inspired me because it tells a story. My concept is that I paint a “window” on the wall where the viewer looks out to the fields, that are clearly Knoxville (you can see the Sunsphere and the skyline), and watch the bunnies running about or resting. Some of them notice the bunny shaped cloud above which also reflects in the water below. Inside the hospital are 3-D bunnies who climb up stairs to view bunny world for themselves. Bunny painters are busy painting the wall next to them and one little girl bunny is hiding below it all reading a book called, “Bunny World.”
I painted the large painting in oil on wood panel whilst creating the sculptures out of wet clay. I then took those bunnies to a foundry where I had them cast in resin. I painted the resin and treated it in a way that it would be archival. I procurred (which wasn’t easy) a piece of canvas large enough to cover the 9′ x 12′ wall and painted the “Painter bunnies” and the little “Reader bunny” onsite. I was there a week painting and talking to the patients who came in and out of the waiting room. It was very rewarding to discuss art with them.
The layers of this installation are meant to give the children and parents something to discover and think about. Since I installed this in August of 2017, I have received lovely letters from people who have said they get so much from this piece each time they visit. That means the world to me!
I wrote about the process of creating this installation in Nashville Arts Magazine. Please check it out. This article with more photos is also on this site under “Published Writing.”
This installation was funded by Nina Bowling-Milner and Mike Milner of Knoxville. Thank you for your generous support! And thank you to Kim Wood and Carlton Long for all their encouragement and support throughout this process.
I am busy working on an outdoor piece for the same hospital. This will be a 3-D sculpture cast in bronze. Thank you again ETCH for giving me this opportunity to make a difference with my art.
All images and concepts are copyrighted © 2017