Artist Dale Chihuly Will Create Artwork for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center


The Chihuly Sanctuary, Gifted by Suzanne and Walter Scott to be cornerstone of Healing Arts Program

Artist Dale Chihuly will bring his vibrant works of art to patients, families and staff at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center when it opens in the spring of 2017. HDR is providing professional services including architecture, engineering, programming, concept development, graphic design and healthcare consulting. Kiewit is the construction manager/general contractor.
Chihuly, a pioneer of the studio glass movement and considered to be one of the world’s foremost artists working in glass today, will create an installation known as The Chihuly Sanctuary inside the Cancer Center. With a background in architecture, Chihuly has always had a keen interest in space and light. This project was of particular interest to the artist because of the healing and meditative aspect his artwork could bring to patients and families.
“I really wanted to create a space for people to meditate and find a moment of peace,” said Chihuly, who hopes the artwork is a welcome addition to the Cancer Center and to the city.
Made possible with a gift from Suzanne and Walter Scott, the Chihuly Sanctuary will be a cornerstone of the Healing Arts Program, and when complete it will have five distinct spaces, each with artwork created specifically for that space. An internationally acclaimed artist, Chihuly is credited with single-handedly elevating glass-blowing from craft to fine art. He is renowned for his ambitious architectural installations around the world, in historic cities, museums and gardens.
“We are fortunate to have Mr. Chihuly’s art as a part of our campus,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., chancellor of UNMC and chairman of the Nebraska Medicine advisory board. “I have no doubt that the brilliant colors and innovative shapes he’s come to be known for will serve as an inspiration to our patients on their journey toward healing, and to our staff and students as we travel on this journey together.”
“Art can have a very positive effect on the healing process,” said Kenneth Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “Having beautiful, peaceful and creative pieces by one of the most talented artists in the world today, as one of the cornerstones of our Healing Arts Program, gives me great confidence that we are doing everything possible to help our patients heal emotionally, as well as physically.”
While Chihuly’s artwork can be found in a number of hospitals across the country, this will be one of the largest installations he has created within a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. NCI-designated centers are the anchors of the nation’s cancer research effort, which form the backbone of NCI’s programs for studying and controlling cancer.
“This small corner of the city is well on its way to becoming a world-class medical center so we thought it was worthy of some world-class art,” said Walter Scott, lead donor.
“We know patients will have high expectations for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center,” said Gail Yanney, M.D., Healing Arts Program committee member. “The Chihuly Sanctuary is being designed to surpass those expectations in every possible way. We’re hopeful it will let patients know how committed we are to healing on a number of different levels.”
The Chihuly Sanctuary joins the previously announced Leslie’s Healing Garden and the commissions of artists Rob Ley and Suzy Taekyung Kim in forming the Healing Arts Program at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. It’s anticipated that hundreds more original works of art will eventually round out the program – all designed to provide patients, staff and visitors with inspiration, comfort and calm, while also creating an atmosphere that feels distinctly different from the traditional hospital setting.
“It has been an honor and a rewarding challenge for me to work on the Chihuly Sanctuary,” said Chihuly, “I’m really looking forward to everything coming together—soon everyone will be able to enjoy the artwork and the space.”
The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center—a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center—is a collaboration of Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The new cancer center will open in early 2017 with cancer research at the Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower and clinical treatments at the C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital.