Cleveland artist Helen Burton’s paintings featured in new Children’s Kennedy Outpatient Center in Chattanooga
Illustrations of 33 figures, painted by Helen Burton, from the Coolidge Park Carousel in Chattanooga will brighten the walls of the new Children’s Kennedy Outpatient Center at the Erlanger Hospital
The Outpatient Center will be shown in a special open house Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.
The new facility will house more than 50 pediatric subspecialists associated with Children’s Hospital at Erlanger including cardiologists, gastroenterologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, orthopedists, who will serve more than 100,000 patients annually for outpatient services.
“This building is one of a kind in the nation for not only providing more access to pediatric specialists but also for transforming the way we care for children,” said Don Mueller, FACHE, vice president and CEO of Children’s Hospital. “Every aspect of the architecture, interior design, activities, and patient care areas were created with the help of our patients, staff and community input. The colors, artwork and technology were all made-to-order with children in mind.”
Attendees have an opportunity to tour the unique 90,000-square foot facility to view photography and artwork by local artists, see a hang glider suspended from the ceiling, sit in the Giving Tree, stroll in the secret garden, play with the fire truck and Sally the tow truck and enjoy many more child-friendly features.
Special guests from the Chattanooga Zoo, Rock City, Tennessee Railroad Museum, Chattanooga Fire Department, Boy and Girl Scouts and the North Pole will also be in attendance. Musical entertainment, holiday design cookies and hot chocolate stations will round out the holiday festivities.
Local artist Helen Burton began watercolor paintings of these animals and horses when the carousel opened in 1999. There are 54 figures arranged in three rows, each one carved from planks of basswood by individuals who learned this specialized craft at the Horsin’ Around Carving School taught by Bud Ellis. He asked her to create a special paper crown to commemorate the opening and serve as a souvenir for the riders. She designed it with five figures arranged around an ornate border. This led to her creating more illustrations as the years progressed and her work was in demand for patrons who had ridden the carousel, and many carvers.
Eventually Burton created paintings of 37 of the 54 figures. Each one is authentically detailed with the original colors and design. Prints in several sizes were produced, framed and sold. The 33 for the new center are the 11”x14” size, matted in bright colors with matching gold frames. Each one is identified with a brass plate with the names of the figure and the carver. There are 12 horses and 21 animals — cats, rabbits, giraffes, ostriches, goats, tigers, sea creatures, a frog, camel, elephant, and so on — all from 1800s authentic designs with personal touches added by the carvers.
As a member of the Tennessee Watercolor Society since 1998, Burton has participated in every biennial juried exhibit since 2002. The 36th Exhibition in 2018 attracted the attention of the Arts@Erlanger committee who were seeking original paintings for the new center.
Representatives visited the show in Clarksville in July and selected 14 of the watercolor paintings to purchase with a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga. Burton’s “Sicilian Counterpoint” was included. They will be displayed together in the Joan Clark Memorial Collection in honor of the TnWS artist who is the mother of Benic M.Clark III, president/treasurer of Lyndhurst.
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