Hennepin County Medical Center Glass Artwork Installation

Posted on December 12, 2017, by
HCMC’s Clinic & Specialty Center 4-story signature glass artwork

Four-story signature glass artwork is glazed into HCMC’s Clinic & Specialty Center by a team of Empirehouse glaziers

On Tuesday, December 12, 2018 the intricate task of installing a four-story glass artwork in Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) new Clinic & Specialty Center began – a delicate process that took three Empirehouse glaziers, two scissor lifts and a robotic glass manipulator over two days to complete. For HCMC, it represents almost two years of planning.

The four-story glass artwork is a gift from the Hennepin Health Foundation (HHF) which illuminates images of life, hope, healing, and a sense of belonging to a community inclusive of HCMC’s patients, families, and staff. The 15 individual decorative glass panels make up approximately 581 total square feet and are mounted with a point-supported application to 10mm stainless steel cables. The art glass itself is made of two layers of 8mm float glass which is heat strengthened and laminated together. The design was airbrushed and hand painted with colored enamels and silver stains.

HCMC’s Clinic & Specialty Center 4-story signature glass artwork

To secure each art glass panel in place, each unit was carefully mounted with a point-supported application to 10mm stainless steel cables by Glaziers Mitch Schindele, James Demarais, and Nick Maurer from Empirehouse, Inc. Channel 5 News stopped by as the last glass artwork panel was being installed.

Video: HCMC Four-Level Glass Artwork Installation

For your next project, trust a Certified NACC Glazing Contractor for quality results. Contact Empirehouse at 763-535-1150 or contact us.

Photo Gallery: (Click to enlarge)

The Artist and Glass Artwork 

Architectural glass artist Martin Donlin, who is known for designing major installations of this type worldwide, was selected by a special art committee made up of employees, patients, artists, and community members using a local, national and international Call for Artists. The narrative design incorporates the Minnesota iconic element of water as a symbol of life and resiliency. The 15 panels tell a story that started as a unique collaboration between Donlin and local environmental poet Laurie Allmann, who was commissioned to write the corresponding poem Mirroring the Light. Together the poem and design describe the transformation of water and life, shown through nurturing figures and wildlife ascending from a single plant to the heavens, spanning from first to fourth floors, all while acknowledging local hallmarks and heritage.

Video: Signature Glass Art Piece in Clinic & Specialty Center

“When the Clinic & Specialty Center doors open in March of 2018, patients, families, visitors and staff will enter a space that embraces healing and wellness, with this magnificent sculpture at the heart of it all,” explains Wenda Lyons Ballinger, Arts Program Coordinator at HCMC. “In fact, the artwork’s healing presence will be a strong force for those who see it through the expansive windows from the outside, too.”

“With this art piece we’ve captured the beauty and strength of our mission that continues in our Clinic & Specialty Center, where literally we’re changing the way health care is delivered in the heart of Minneapolis,” said Ford Bell, Vice President of Philanthropy for HHF. “It’s a very real representation of our big, beautiful vision that every Minnesotan will have access to our state-of-the art, convenient care.”

The glass artwork is one of over 600 works of art that will be featured in the building, with most of the original work created by local, Minnesota, and regional artists. No longer considered “nice to have” decoration, art is now understood to be a vital part of the healthcare environment. Studies have proven that integrating the arts into healthcare settings cultivates a healing environment and supports the physical, mental, and emotional recovery of patients and families.  HCMC has maintained a healing art collection since 1974 and boasts a multi-disciplinary arts program since 2003 named Inspire Arts. Curating for the Clinic & Specialty Center artwork was led by local art consultancy Dorsey Hovde Art Design.

The new Clinic & Specialty Center, located just across 8th Street from HCMC’s emergency department, is near completion and scheduled to open in March, 2018.