The Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital expansion – atop MultiCare’s new regional cancer center buildings and the emergency section of Mary Bridge and Tacoma General – isn’t open to the public yet, but the art’s already there, brightening the corridors and waiting rooms with glass sea-life in vivid tangerines and limes. And I was lucky enough yesterday to get a sneak peek at the installations by Jennevieve Schlemmer and the non-profit Hilltop Artists glass program.
The HART installation is interesting in two ways: It’s art made by kids for kids, with ongoing interactions planned; and it’s also visible from the outside. Lining the north windows of the 6th and 7th floor skyway bridges connecting the front building on Martin Luther King Jr. Way and the back building on South J Street are 1,400 glass floats, blown by the skilled, hardworking HART students at Jason Lee Middle School. You can see it from the alley just beside the emergency drop-off (but you’ll have to walk underneath the skybridge to see the north window, as the south one was left clear to preserve the views of Mt. Rainier). Gelato-hued floats pile up like bubbles inside an aquarium: cool blues and greens on the lower floor, warm lemons, limes, tangerines and berry colors on the upper.
But the best part can only be seen by the hospital’s young patients and staff. Up close you realize that every so often the glassblowers (at Wilson High, this time) have popped an exquisitely-blown squid or octopus inside a float, so the whole installation goes from abstract beauty to a “Where’s Waldo?” treasure hunt for viewers. Read more »