January 5

Maine artist’s mosaic graces five floors of Boston hospital

Amanda Edwards’ work will be part of the opening Monday of Boston Children’s Hospital new addition.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

An artist from Cape Elizabeth will be in the Boston spotlight Monday when the Boston Children’s Hospital opens an addition that features her Maine-made glass mosaic panels on five floors.

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Amanda Edwards of Cape Elizabeth works on a glass mosaic. “My work has no big hidden meanings,” she says. “It’s just simply color, joy, love and moments of imaginative freedom.”

Courtesy photos

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Five glass mosaic panels make up the artwork “Everyone’s Tree House,” created by Cape Elizabeth artist Amanda Edwards for the Boston Children’s Hospital's brand-new Mandell Building, which opens Monday. This panel is displayed on the first floor.

Additional Photos Below

Amanda Edwards’ piece, which she spent much of 2013 working on, is called “Everyone’s Tree House,” and it’s one of those works of art that cause people to stop, look and look again.

The five-panel piece includes 73,000 tiles and weighs more than 1,000 pounds. It is installed on the sixth through 10th floors of the new Mandell Building, which is named for the recently retired hospital president, Dr. James Mandell.

Each of the five panels is visible from a central courtyard in the building, and each represents a different section of a single tree that begins at sea level and stretches high into space.

It shows fish swimming, children playing and animals gallivanting among the leaf-adorned branches.

Edwards, 38, was chosen for the $100,000 project following a national call for proposals in 2012.

She said she designed her mosaic to represent the playful spirit of children, the healing qualities of nature and the soothing elements of art.

“As an artist, I am committed to designing artwork that brings people happiness, and it’s my hope that I am given the chance to do that for the many patients, visitors and employees that walk the busy halls of Boston Children’s Hospital,” she said in a statement about the work.

“When you stand next to it, what you enjoy about it are all the details she has put into it,” said Jessica Finch, who directs the Harvard-affiliated hospital’s creative arts program. “There are a lot of really great, clever things that you have to search for and that are fun to look for. She really put her heart and soul into this project, and worked so hard on it.”

Each of the five panels relates to those above and below. On the top branches of the tree, children huddle around a telescope to look at the stars. Toward the bottom of the tree, they cast lines for the colorful fish that swim in the sea.

The scenes Edwards depicts in glass are whimsical and funny. On one branch, a youngster stands at an easel making a painting. Nearby, a squirrel mimics the child with its own little easel and painting. Ladybugs, owls, butterflies and helicopters are all part of the environment.

Each panel is about 5 feet tall and 11 feet wide.

Edwards was among 100 or so who submitted ideas for the public art project, Finch said.

A hospital committee narrowed the search, and Edwards was selected after voting by patients, their families and hospital staff.

She was selected in summer 2012, and spent nine months working on the mosaic mural at her Cape Elizabeth studio.

It was installed in the new wing this fall.

On Monday, the building will open with its first patients.

“It’s a very exciting time for the hospital, and we’re very happy that Amanda is part of our celebration,” Finch said.

Edwards has a long history with public art. In Portland, her work is in the Florence House and the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

A mother of two, she draws inspiration from her own kids.

“They remind me to enjoy life,” she wrote on her blog, “to laugh a lot, to jump over the waves, to roll down hills, to not take myself too seriously, and to give love freely and as much as possible. The lessons I’ve learned from them come through in every piece of art I make. My work has no big hidden meanings. … It’s just simply color, joy, love and moments of imaginative freedom.”

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:bkeyes@pressherald.combkeyes@pressherald.comTwitter: pphbkeyespphbkeyes

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Additional Photos

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This glass panel made by Cape Elizabeth glass artist Amanda Edwards is displayed on the second floor.

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This glass panel by Amanda Edwards is displayed on the third floor.

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This glass panel by Amanda Edwards is displayed on the fourth floor.

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This glass panel by Amanda Edwards is on the fifth floor.

Contributed photos


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