In the busy lobby of Fletcher Allen Health Care, people have a new reason to stop and look up. Hospital visitor Sue Harvey says, "It adds a nice touch because before that, it was pretty institutional-looking and now it's like an elegant institution!"
Vermont's largest hospital is now home to one of its largest pieces of art: a 40-foot tall sewing machine and quilt called "The Fabric of Life," made from copper and steel. Fletcher Allen's Dawn LeBaron beams, "It is just thrilling!"
Fletcher Allen regularly makes art a visible part of its halls and waiting areas, believing it's soothing, and that it has positive effects on the healing environment. "The environment of care for the patient is much broader than at the bedside," explains LeBaron. "I think if you look at amenities in the building, aesthetics, and art, we acknowledge their need to have something interesting, inviting, and fascinating to look at."
The sculpture was funded by an anonymous donor as a tribute to the determination of the people of Vermont. One requirement was that it be made by a local artist.
Sculptor Kat Clear chuckles, "The piece weighs almost a ton."
Clear spent three months shaping, welding and adjusting the metal. Her original design is in ten panels and is so big, she had to work outdoors and climb on the roof to get a good look at it in its entirety. "My hope is that it provides some comfort for people while they're here; something to think about," says Kat Clear.
She says quilting has a long tradition of stitching together not just textiles, but whole communities. So the hospital hopes its metal "Fabric of Life" sculpture is an inspiration to people who come here.
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