With the opening of the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, some awesome art has come to Iowa City—maybe even better than the finger paintings I did in kindergarten that my mom keeps on our fridge.
This past weekend I visited Iowa’s only nationally ranked children’s hospital to take a look at the new art pieces featured in the lobby.
While not a professional art critic myself, I snacked on some string cheese and drank a grape juice box while there, so I feel fully qualified to give my refined opinion that the art was really super duper cool.
The towering art resembles stacks of giant alphabet blocks, celebrating 12 towns throughout Iowa in a colorful and whimsical fashion. (Hey, that sounded pretty sophisticated!)
Each tower is topped with a unique wind vane and the blocks highlight the history and culture of towns such as Boone, Maquoketa, Sabula, and more. Making history and geography fun? This work of art truly pulls off the impossible.
They were created by artist Larry Kirkland, who has done a lot of giant artworks for airports, hospitals, and office buildings across the country. Mr. Kirkland told me that lobbies in children’s hospitals are environments for a patient’s “circle of support.” Patients may not spend much time there, but their parents, brothers, sisters, and other family members do. Mr. Kirkland says it’s his mission to create spaces that help families feel engaged.
I asked him how I could make a living playing with giant alphabet blocks, too, but all he told me was to stay in school. As he’s the creator of one of the newest piece of artistic excellence in Iowa, I’ll take his advice. I just hope my math teacher doesn’t mind me painting a still-life of my action figures during class.