Visitors to the Beeghly campus in Boardman will have the opportunity to enjoy a unique, locally produced piece of art when the hospital’s new main entrance opens this summer.
The artwork is being created for the campus’s expansion project, which will open July 11. One of the building’s architects, Adam May of Hasenstab Architects, also doubles as the coordinator of its signature piece of art.
“I went to Kent State University and then moved to Youngstown in 2001 where I spent a number of years performing in bands, which I still do, and I have an enormous passion for the local art scene,” May said.
One of the first May contacted was Tony Nicholas, who works with a non-profit group called Artists of the Rust Belt. Together, May and Nicholas developed a concept for the piece called “Dreaming Tree” that complements the building’s “back to nature” theme. Then Nicholas found the right group of artists to turn the idea into reality.
This group includes woodwork artist Greg Webber, who crafted an 8-foot tree sculpture to mount to the brick wall inside the entrance; painters May and Laurie Anderson; and Freshmade 3D, a Youngstown Business Incubator company that spent about 4 weeks printing 3D animals to place around the tree.
“It’s a beautiful piece of art that feels extra special because it was created by local artists,” said Lisa Taafe, Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley transition steering committee chair.
Freshmade typically produces custom automotive parts for classic automobiles. Last year, however, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber asked Freshmade to print life-size bobbleheads of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. The project allowed Freshmade to explore a new process that reduces the cost of large 3D printed parts. They were happy to take on another project that allowed them to use their artistry in a new way.
“Projects like this allow us to learn more about our process and explore new market opportunities,” Freshmade CEO Rich Wetzel said. “3D printing technology has so much potential and it’s exciting to see how people in this region are taking advantage of it.”
Both May and Wetzel praised the innovative spirit of the Mahoning Valley and the value of using local talent for the benefit of the hospital.
“With the new, state-of-the-art medical facility being built, it only made sense to incorporate as many talented, local people as possible to help give the entrance its identity and showcase the various aptitudes of people in the area,” May said. “We’re hoping that this piece generates interest and intrigue for the kids that come through the doors on their way to better health.”
Start-to-finish the project took 5 months to complete.