Something very special arrived in Kalamazoo on Tuesday, perhaps one of the few by-products of the pandemic, and was incubated at a local hospital through the care of a young artist. A sculptor who had his hands reconstructed as a child at Bronson Children’s Hospital created a new life-size sculpture that captures the spirit and power of pediatric patients at Bronson Children’s Hospital.
The sculpture by artist Josh Diedrich was unveiled this afternoon in the grounds of Bronson Methodist Hospital on the corner of Vine and Jasper Streets.
The piece contains realistic bronze figures of six children. One of the images is a representation of an actual mother with her baby who was born in Bronson. Other numbers are loosely based on pictures submitted by parents of patients at Bronson Children’s Hospital.
Diedrich started the sculpture in his studio shortly before the pandemic began. Diedrich says he dragged the figures home after the first day of quarantine. “I started adding clay to the statues in my living room,” adds Diedrich. “I spent the next five months sculpting them from home.”
Diedrich says the design of this sculpture was of particular importance to him. “Even as a child, I was a patient for several long periods because my hands had to be reconstructed,” he explains. “I hope that every child who goes to the hospital can find themselves somewhere in the play.”
The sculpture is made of cast bronze using the traditional lost wax process. The statues are mounted on a 2,000-pound base made of cultured stone, ultra-high-performance concrete, over a steel frame.
This sculpture was funded in large part through the Bronson Health Foundation by the Polzin family in memory of John Polzin, who passed away in 2017. John served on the board of directors of the Bronson Health Foundation from 1987 to 2015. “This piece honors John as he exemplifies the healing power of kindness and humble generosity in our community to support Bronson’s youngest patients,” said Terry Morrow, vice president of development at Bronson Healthcare. “We honor John and his wife, Kay, for this donation and their longstanding dedication to ensuring that Bronson Children’s Hospital is fully prepared to care for children in our community.”
“We hope this sculpture will serve as a visually appealing landmark for Bronson Children’s Hospital,” says Morrow. “It reflects Bronson’s commitment to being the only children’s hospital in southwest Michigan. Our committed employees in paediatrics and neonatal medicine offer special services and care for our little patients on a daily basis. “
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