Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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Sculpture Vulture: Baptist Health Healing Garden

On the grounds of Baptist Health, there is a Healing Garden which features a sculpture by Kevin Kresse.  It depicts a person reaching down to help out another person.  Kresse’s abstract style allows the viewer to determine whether they think it is Jesus Christ helping a fallen man, or just a “Good Samaritan” aiding someone in distress.

The garden, which was designed by P. Allen Smith, also includes a cross on one end and a fountain on the other end.  Cathy Mayton, who was longtime executive vice president of Baptist Health envisioned the Healing Garden, which was supported by Russell Harrington, ceo and president of Baptist Health.  The project was made possible by donations from the Estate of Mary Ann Boyd, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Shell, the Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Winstead, Gertrude Butler, Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Wills and hospital auxiliaries.

Though many people walk past the Healing Garden without noticing it as they are going in or exiting the hospital, it provides a refuge for countless visitors as well as employees.

A few years ago, I was out there and saw a grandfather and his toddler grandson in the garden.  I have no idea whether they were at the hospital for a joyous reason or a sad reason. But whatever the reason, as they were playing in the garden, they were enjoying themselves and having a time alone – just the two of them – in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life.

This space exemplifies the purpose of public art.  It allows people to have their own unique experience which meets the current need of their life. It allows for interaction, quiet reflection, and personal experiences.

Every time I am there I see a variety of ages, races, and backgrounds sharing the space in a meaningful way.  It is through public art, and the arts in general, that we can come together as a society.   Art allows us to be both an individual and part of a greater being at the same time.

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