Designed to communicate healing and wellness, a public art piece was unveiled at sunset on May 28 at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso‘s Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, by artists Elizabeth Billings and Andrea Wasserman along with Texas Tech University System Regents Rick Francis and Debbie Montford; TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A.; and Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing Founding Dean Jeanne Novotny, RN, Ph.D. Community stakeholders and friends of TTUHSC El Paso joined university faculty, staff, and students to witness the unveiling.
The Helix Garden is the second permanent public art piece on the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso campus, the first of which was installed in 2008. The Helix Garden is a continuous sculptural experience featuring an LED-lit double helix that spans across 150 feet and knits together the campus’ Medical Education Building and Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing. It is comprised of tall sandblasted glass frieze allowing space for the landscape of pathways, trees, seating and a planted garden. Overlapping glass panels create both public spaces for congregating and more private places for sitting and studying. “The graceful and vibrant sequence of imagery is a metaphor for the many and varied layers of healing, and the elongated sculpture becomes a landmark and entryway for the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing,” wrote Billings and Wasserman in their proposal for the artwork.
“We are thrilled to work with such talented artists as part of the TTU System Public Art Program,” said Chancellor Robert Duncan. “These artworks are an investment in the thriving campus environments at each of our institutions, and I know Helix Garden will be a beautiful and inviting complement to the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing.”
“By displaying a powerful depiction of health and energy, we hope to create a stronger sense of the importance of culture, the wonder of science and the beauty of education so that our students, faculty, patients and residents experience a greater attachment to our community and the health sciences center,” said Dr. Richard Lange, President of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.
The Helix Garden glows at night giving emphasis to the etchings as well as guiding visitors to the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing entrance. The etched glass panels use solid-state LED technology providing extremely efficient fixtures and low maintenance demands. The materials used to create this piece were chosen to not only compliment the larger architectural scheme of the surrounding buildings, but also because they are durable and respectful to the environment.
“The Helix Garden is a beautiful symbol representative of the science of nursing and the art of caring for the El Paso community,” said Dr. Jeanne Novotny, Dean of the Gayle Greve Hunt School Nursing. “This beautiful space will inspire and encourage our students while they are on their journey to becoming a nurse. It is with great appreciation that we thank the artists who created this exquisite quiet area for reflection and inspiration.”
With offices in Vermont, artists Billings and Wasserman, have created numerous public art projects in the U.S. for government buildings, medical, law, and other educational institutions including Harvard School of Public Health in Cambridge, MA; Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire; and the College of Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, in Kingston, R.I.
About Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, the Texas Tech University System’s fourth university, has a mission to provide education, research, and patient care to West Texas. It is comprised of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The university has a clinical practice called Texas Tech Physicians which is part of the largest network of healthcare physicians in West Texas. Research focuses on cancer, diabetes and obesity, infectious diseases, and neurosciences.