Laurie Bell, an art teacher in Underwood (formerly at Horizon), has a weekly art class with about 10 kids from grades 5 through 12. Last year, she wanted to create a large piece of art with her students, a collaboration of their personalities that could then be gifted to a public institution. She chose Skyline Hospital, where her sister and a few of her kids were born. She remembers the hospital fondly, especially the time she and her brother wheeled her ailing mother around the halls. It was comfortable. They felt welcome, trusted. Like home.
"I really love doing artwork that's interactive, that's a little bit of a puzzle. I want people to look at the work of art, and feel like they're discovering something," describes Laurie, "but I also wanted something that would evoke life and the process of growth. I love trees and a tree seemed to symbolize the whole spectrum of life."
Laurie had the vision of the project but her students made it their own. Each one of them worked on a portion of the puzzle. It took the group over five months but, in time, the large 7x7 mosaic came alive as the Tree of Life. Its roots grow far and wide. The mosaic pulls together shards of once precious pottery to bottle tops and spent 22-shells from her son's gun. Fragments, once tossed, salvaged and brought together into a stunning tree that shines with possibility and hope.
This Tree of Life now hangs on a wall of Skyline's unfinished basement, waiting to welcome friends of Skyline to the future community meeting space.