Creation and Installation of Imagine at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center

Renderings of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, NE.

In 2010, HCD Architecture came to me with a monumental sculpture request, to create a captivating sculpture for Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The hospital sought a striking sculpture installation to adorn the corner of 89th and Dodge Street. I was granted creative freedom to conceptualize and design the installation.

(Left) Matthew Placzek Sculpting one of the child figures in clay before the sculptures are cast in bronze. (Right) Assembly of the acrylic umbrellas.

My inspiration stemmed from a desire to craft a piece that would catch the eye of the 70,000+ drivers passing by on Dodge Street each day. The goal was to create a sculpture that would evoke feelings of joy, spark imagination, and serve as a welcoming landmark for hospital visitors. I wanted to symbolize the incredible care given at Children’s centered around nurturing care, safety, and security, and I felt that an umbrella would be a perfect fit.

The initial concept revolved around a staircase adorned with umbrellas floating up towards a towering spire. The umbrellas, standing over 75 feet tall, are intricately attached to a 7,000 lb stainless steel spire. By day, the umbrellas gleam in silver and copper hues, embellished with various patterns. As night falls, the LED lights within the umbrellas illuminate, showcasing a dazzling display of over 16 million color combinations. The end result is a mesmerizing sculpture that not only captivates the eye but also serves as a beacon of hope and joy for all who encounter it.

Five bronze children stand proudly around the entryway sign to the medical campus, each accompanied by their own unique umbrella. These sculptures exude individual personalities, playfully interacting with one another to create a sense of wonderment and joy. The patina of the children’s clothing is carefully chosen to complement the colors of the surrounding environment and architecture, adding to the overall aesthetic appeal.

Each child holds an LED-lit umbrella, capable of displaying millions of color combinations that coordinate with the umbrella spire. These elements come together to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for all who visit the hospital, providing a sense of comfort and joy to patients and their families alike.

The sculpture installation at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center continues to serve as a beacon of imagination, hope, and joy for all who pass by. It was truly an honor to create such a meaningful and impactful piece for the community.