“I lay all my good health to the flowers. From them I get my therapy, my fresh air and my exercise.” Those words were spoken in 1974 by Sister Anastasia Steffes, who tended the flower gardens at Borgess Health in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Last year, Borgess Medical Center (Kalamazoo, MI) dedicated a large courtyard garden to her, calling it the Sister Anastasia Healing Garden.
Knowing that many people are unaware of the garden’s existence and hoping to invite more people to enjoy it, Borgess hired me to paint a mural on the interior of the access door, something bright and welcoming which would entice people to push it open and step outside.
The mural is an idealized version of the actual garden. With a little bit of artistic license, I combined a couple of seasons: the garden’s big magnolia tree in bloom, ripe tomatoes, blossoming cucumber plants and open purple coneflowers. The mural was painted directly onto the door using acrylic paints, with magnolia branches and cucumber vines clambering out onto the nearby hallway walls.
To see it in person, go to Borgess Medical Center’s main campus on Gull Rd. in Kalamazoo, head for the cafeteria entrance, and look for the short hallway with the ATM machine on the corner. My mural is right there on the door at the end of that short hall.