"Originally as the piece was developed with family members and the artist, we were calling it "Mother and Child," as were we thinking of Barb nurturing her four children with the support of her husband Glen," Susan Zulk, Spencer Hospital spokesperson, said.
"However," Zulk added, "together with the Chenhall family members, we concluded we wanted this piece to speak to everyone. As Barbara's daughter Cindy Kress pointed out, she believes a more appropriate title for this piece of art is "Nurturing and Giving." The smaller figure is presenting a bouquet of flowers while the larger figure is curved towards the small figure, with an arm circling around in an embrace. As the intent of this piece is for all to enjoy, the two figures can represent any relationship that offers comfort, caring and support,"
Dubuque artist Gail Chavenelle, known for her stylized steel sculptures, was selected to create this unique piece. By bending steel, hard metal becomes gently curved figures and graceful flowers. Initially, Gail worked with lighter gage steel, which she still does; however, in recent years she has explored working with heavier metal to create substantial art for outdoor spaces.
"The sculpture is universal to all, to include all who enter the Spencer Hospital garden area. Each head is formed from a bent piece of metal. The figures have no faces, but can appear to look and enjoy. Also, the figures have no ethnicity, but can represent anyone, any viewer," Chavenelle said.
Funding for the art piece was provided to the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation by the Chenhall family and many friends and community members who gave gifts in memory of Barbara. In addition to funding the sculpture, memorial funds are also designated to the new "Healing Arts" program beginning at Spencer Hospital in conjunction with Arts on Grand.
"We recognize that a vital part of healing comes from the beauty and creativity of art in many forms," Zulk said. "What's pleasing to the eyes, soothing or familiar to the ears, or a welcome outlet through using hands to paint, draw or journal can all have valuable health benefits. Over the years we've had a number people specifically donate to art-related projects and we would like to thank everyone whose support provides our patients, visitors and co-workers the gift of music and visual arts."