The “Pas de Deux” of Art and Healing- Dell Children’s Medical Center, Austin, TX

The folioing article appeared in the August newsletter of the Texas Society of Sculptors.

The “Pas de Deux” of Art and Healing

The days preceding our visit to the Dell Children’s Medical Center were full of enthusiasm.  Although we were anxious to view the art collection, our primary objective was to understand the role of artists in the healing process.

Upon entering the medical center one had to question if the outdoor signage was correct.  Are we in a hospital or a children’s museum?

The entrance, the puppet theater where we gathered and the kinetic artwork at the reception area greeted everyone with open arms.  Art, design and nature graced the spaciousness.  Walls of Texas stone, floors of mesquite, and art by local and global artists created a protective and nurturing environment.

Our docent provided a background on the center’s focus on art as part of the healing process. She explained that even before construction started, art was part of the design not an afterthought.  The institution follows the Planetree Model as a guide to enhance healthcare from the patient’s perspective.  Two critical components of this model are architectural design and art.

The experience of light pouring through grand windows, interior gardens and water features offer tranquility and harmony.   Simultaneously, it was amazing to observe, throughout the hospital, the quality of: abstract, figurative, religious, secular and naive artwork.  Whether placed in patients rooms, cafeteria, break rooms, hallways or in the gardens, art adds a sense of beauty and playfulness.  All of this, the architectural design and the art, brought together for one purpose: healing.

The Dell Children’s Medical Center boasts other unique and incredible features:

  • The largest private art collection in Texas,
  • Designation as a LEEDS Platinum Green Facility,
  • Is part of The Seton Healthcare Family Network,
  • The dog therapy wall commemorating 25 years of service,
  • Four 4’x8’ raised beds of vegetable and herbs.

So, the question are:

  • What did our president envision when she invited us to visit the Dell facility?
  • Was she challenging us with another perspective and another outlet for our art?
  • What can we do with it?  How can we enrich the life of others while evolving in our own sphere of art form?

She surely introduced us to another reality and deepened our thoughts on Art and Healing.  Our thanks go to her.

Marika Bordes, and

Dennis Martin

Seguin ArtsFest- Crowds turn out

Crowds turn out for ArtsFest activities

Felicia Frazar | Posted: Monday, April 2, 2012 9:09 pm

SEGUIN — The weekend that was dedicated to the arts in Seguin was a success.

Marvel Maddox, ArtsFest co-chair and Seguin Commission on the Arts member, said different area events drew in a number of participants.

“I was pleased with the outcome,” he said.

The weekend featured a variety of artists from sculptors, painters, photographers, musicians, dancers, poets, writers and more, Maddox said.

During the day on Saturday, Central Park was filled with people learning more about local artists while Trade Days was going on.

“Everything at the bandstand went well and attracted some crowds,” he said.

Central Park wasn’t the only place drawing attention.

“At the Texas Theater we had Seguin Has Talent which was tremendous,” he said. “There were 16 performances and we had a packed house.”

The night before, at Austin Street Live, the Harleys held a benefit concert for the Seguin Commission on the Arts, raising more than $500, Maddox said.

Saturday night, the Texas Theater was the stage for Arts in the Park.

The event was a fundraiser for the Bird Sculpture Sanctuary that will be going into Walnut Springs Park.

Dennis Martin said the event was well attended.

“There was a nice crowd and it was lively,” he said. “We had a good turnout from different members of the community, as well as great volunteers who helped out.”

There were a number of opportunities for guests to donate to the project including a live and silent auction, Martin said.

“We had some people sign up for the donor wall,” he said. “People who donated $250 or more get their name on a plaque and it is added to the wall.”

The highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the sculptures that will be displayed in the park, Martin said.

“When the curtain opened you heard ‘wow’ coming from the audience,” he said. “While we still have some work to do, we wanted people to get a preview and to see what kind of work is going into these sculptures.”

Planning the three-day event took a lot of time and volunteers, Maddox said.

“We had 20 people on the Commission For the Arts board who helped organize” he said. “We also had about 10 liaisons — from the school, Teatro and other organizations — that helped to organize the other activities. It took about 30 people total to plan out the event and we couldn’t have done it without any of them.”

The Walnut Springs Park Bird Sculpture Sanctuary

Bird Sanctuary 1 18 12

 (Click here to hear the KWED 1580 Seguin AM radio broadcast by Darren Dunn)


On Tuesday January 17, 2012,  the Seguin City Council unanimously approved the Walnut Springs Park Bird Sculpture Sanctuary.