November 10, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The new Women’s Center at Saint Luke’s Hospital opened in spring 2010 and recently received its finishing touch – a graceful new sculpture at the exterior entrance to welcome patients and visitors.

Called Empatheia, the 9-foot tall, flame-textured steel sculpture was created by award-winning local artist and Kansas City Art Institute graduate Reilly Hoffman. His sculpture suggests an embrace and is intended to convey compassion, confidence and empathy in the health care setting. Empatheia completes an extensive art collection interspersed throughout the center’s halls and treatment areas. Hoffman’s works appear in more than 25 private collections and four public collections. Last year, he was honored with an ArtsFundKC Inspiration Grant and was invited to show his work with the Avenue of the Arts.

The women’s center art program comprises 53 works by 16-area artists and photographers. Media run the gamut from oils, acrylics, fiber, ceramics, acrylic sculpture, steel sculpture and photographs, including several by Saint Luke’s employees, medical staff and volunteers.

The collection was made possible by the Saint Luke’s Hospital Auxiliary through funds raised at the 2008 Holly Ball to help support the art program.

The Women’s Center at Saint Luke’s Hospital provides easy access to many services and products for women including free valet parking at the entrance, walk-in mammograms, heart health assessments, a Women’s Shoppe with health products, high risk pregnancy services and a state-of-the-art labor and delivery unit. Adjoining programs include the Ellen Hockaday Center for Women’s Care and the Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center.

“Women as caregivers must take care of themselves so they can address the health care needs and decisions for their families and aging parents,” said Saint Luke’s Hospital CEO Julie Quirin. “The art program enhances the social and healing environment of this beautiful new facility. We are grateful to the Auxiliary for its generosity in making this inspiring collection possible.”