the new research building opens this month, the energy and optimism
of science will be in the air—and on the walls. That’s because the
art collection that will adorn the building’s main lobby, conference
areas and other public spaces will be made up of images done and
inspired by the work of Children’s researchers.
“The goal is to marry art and science in a way that is inspiring
to everyone who comes in the building,” says Pam Wilkins-Horowitz,
an art consultant who helped lead the project.
The collection, which includes images from the work of many Children’s
investigators at all levels of the research enterprise, will be
installed between October 13 and 15. Artwork includes: work from
the zebrafish lab of Leonard
Zon, MD, HHMI investigator in Hematology; cellular
structures taken from the work of Don Ingber, MD, PhD,
senior research associate in Vascular Biology, Surgery and Pathology;
and microscopy images contributed by Scott
Pomeroy, MD, PhD, senior associate in Neurology.
“I’m a big fan of microscopy,” says Pomeroy. Microscopy is a field
that allows researchers to create high-resolution images of cells
magnified many thousands of times. “The scientific images are stunning.
And like art, they are especially beautiful once you grasp their
In addition to collecting scientific images from Children’s researchers,
Wilkins-Horowitz commissioned artists from around the country to
produce abstract interpretations, including glass sculpture, ceramics,
fabric art and paintings. In many cases, the researchers met with
the artists to explain their investigations, as well as provide
guidance, resources and feedback.
Cynthia Simonds, a textile artist from Newcastle, Maine, was commissioned
to produce two pieces for the building. The works, which were designed
to “reflect and refract light,” are a collage of fabrics that make
up an abstract image. Simonds was inspired in her work by meetings
with researchers and her time as a chronic juvenile arthritis patient.
“You can tell that everyone at Children’s not only cares about their
work, but is determined to help other human beings. I hope I can
give something back that gives scientists a tidbit of inspiration.”
Does art really have the power to inspire scientists? According
to Pomeroy and Ingber, on some levels it does. “Science and art
are more closely related than we realize,” says Pomeroy. “Science
isn’t just a collection of facts. It’s a process of understanding
things, and a very creative process at that.”
Ingber adds, “Our environment has more effect on our day-to-day
work than we tend to realize. This installation provides much-deserved
recognition for the scientists who work here, and it also makes
a statement that this is a really special place—as special as the
work that goes on in it.”CM