"Drop by drop, one glass sphere at a time, waves of color illuminated the sky and washed away the gray..."
Click here to check out a FANTASTIC article from Multicare!
Recognizing glass arts as a powerful tool to inspire youth facing challenging circumstances, Hilltop Artists and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital are partnering together to make the hospital a place where colorful glass creations will fill the space with whimsical and visual delight, welcoming and engaging patients and families. Mary Bridge has commissioned Hilltop Artists to create glass installations for the new Multicare Milgard Pavilion, the Mary Bridge Pediatric wing, and for a project called Faces of Courage.
Multicare Milgard Pavilion
Working since last September our production team has created 1300 glass floats that have been installed in the Multicare Milgard Pavillion, the new skyway bridges that connect the main hospital on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to the exam rooms on J Street. The Hilltop Artists’ installation is called “Chiya” which is the Japanese word for healing. The overall concept is to include glass elements that not only speak to children, but also reflect the maritime assets of the Puget Sound. Hilltop Artists selected the “glass float” as the primary component of the project because all students can participate in blowing this simple, timeless shape, which will call to mind bubbles in the water, sea foam and waves.
This installation is not only colorful but also interactive! Patients and their families can explore the glass floats looking for the multiple sea creatures that are hidden within. This artistic representation of the well-known “Hide and Seek” family game will be bring a light and fun activity to an environment where serious issues may or may not be just around the corner.
- Where did we store 1300 floats? Founder, Dale Chihuly generously provided storage and gave all our floats a temporary home! Thanks Dale!
Faces of Courage
Starting in April Hilltop Artists Team Production bead makers will meet with Mary Bridge children once a month. This groundbreaking project will create another kind of bridge – one that will connect children and youth- many of whom are at risk for very different reasons. Our students will visit with the children who are ill with very serious conditions to discover what their vision for a Face of Courage would be. The children would then draw a representation of their ideas and feelings. After each session, Hilltop Artists students will choose one Face of Courage drawing from all of those done by the young patients. They will create two fused glass pieces, one for the young patient who created it and one to be installed on the Mary Bridge Wall of Courage. Over the course of 12 months Team Production will make 2 faces each month totaling 24 Faces of Courage. The screening for students who will participate in the hospital is rigorous, requires up to date vaccinations, and hours of orientation and training. Despite this, at least six of our Hilltop Artists youth are participating and some are already asking what other ways they can be of service to these children and what other volunteer opportunities there at Mary Bridge.
Students love projects!! And now that the blown glass spheres for the bridge are done they are excited to dive into creating creatures for a glass tidal pool to be installed on the third floor of the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital pediatrics wing. Even staff and teachers are delighted and amazed with the quirkiness and beauty as the students create fish, barnacles, clams, crabs, starfish and more!
As our youth participate in these one of a kind opportunities, they begin to see the power that public art can have; as artists and participants, this translates into a growing sense of their own value and the empowering experience of belonging and creating. At the installation many conversations – among nurses, camera crew, doctors and students - centered on the belief that this art would create a message of inspiration, encouragement and healing for years to come.