Location: Main Lobby
Memphis artist Jeanne Seagle was contacted by Le Bonheur in April 2009 with a special request -- to design the welcoming centerpiece for the hospital’s main lobby.
Seagle drew inspiration for the design from her childhood fantasies. “I want children and families to be able to escape to a happier place,” she said.
Made of thousands of tiny, colorful mosaic pieces, “I Can Fly” stands nearly 17 feet tall, reaching into the second floor rotunda. The obelisk’s four sides represent the four seasons designated by the words hope, faith, children and love.
“The seasons symbolize the passage of time, the patience and faith involved in the healing process,” said Seagle.
On top of the obelisk, a child rides a giant rotating blue bird, 6.5 feet tall 6.5 feet wide. The colorful child represents the “every child,” as Le Bonheur welcomes all patients seeking care.
Hospital President Meri Armour says the statue “represents what we want for children. We want the seasons of their lives to be full and rich. We want them to dream big and believe they can be whatever they want to be.”
Seagle recruited the help of artist Lea Holland to fabricate the statue. Holland and a core team of four artists spent countless hours inside Pomegranate Studios – Holland’s Memphis art studio -- building the statue and engineering its careful design.
“When interviewing prospective mosaic artists for the project, I decided I needed to see people in action,” said Holland. “I created a mosaic training program – or ‘boot camp’ as I called it.”
Holland’s “boot camp” taught the fundamentals of mosaic art, its history, hands-on techniques and design issues specific to the art form.
After more than a year of hard work, “I Can Fly,” was installed in the hospital’s main lobby. A gift to Le Bonheur’s generous donors, the statue was kept a secret until its unveiling on June 13 at the donor reception.
Seagle received a bachelor’s degree from Memphis College of Art. She is a painter, designer and illustrator of children's books, murals and mosaics.
Holland has a bachelor’s degree from the Parsons School of Design. She spent years as an art director in Los Angeles, creating graphic programs for companies in the entertainment industry, including The Walt Disney Company. She earned several design awards for her work in Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare before Christmas.” Since moving to Memphis, she has turned her attention to fine craft and public art. She now owns Pomegranate Studios, a ceramic art studio.
If you would like to inquire about underwriting any of the other pieces in the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Art Collection, please call the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Foundation at 901-287-6308.