Why would an artist known internationally for large-scale fiber art installations travel to Tucson to drape the entire façade of TMC for Children in colorful displays of yarn from around the world?
Think of it as a big, cuddly embrace, rooted in Tucson’s response to the shooting tragedy of Jan. 8, 2011, and honoring the community spirit that brought people together to grieve, reflect and move forward.
With Tucson Medical Center a major, lead donor of the January 8th Memorial Foundation, and a longtime supporter of Beyond, an event each January designed to promote the community health and well-being, Stephen Duneier found a natural alliance, given his own passion for drawing people outside to play.
Duneier has collected more than 10,000 square feet of yarn art, sent from knitting enthusiasts all over the globe, from Tasmania to Kuwait and Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
He has wrapped giant eucalyptus trees and massive boulders in remote natural areas. Now, his “Dreamer” installation, in reference to the John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” will be his largest installation ever, accessible to patients, visitors and staff at TMC, as well as to members of the community who are participating in an art walk on the TMC campus as part of the Jan. 14 Beyond event.
“There is something magical about people of all ethnicities, colors, races and religions, wealthy and poor alike, joining together from every corner of the map for a collective experience of pure whimsy,” Duneier said, of his first urban installation. In moments like that, you realize you’re not the only dreamer after all.”
Duneier’s visit as “artist-in-residence” was initiated at the request of Mary Reed, a survivor of the Jan. 8 shooting attack and the organizer of TEDx Tucson. “We were looking for an artist who would knit the community together and he did!” she said, noting there are contributions from all 50 states and several countries sending their love in the form of knitted and crocheted objects.
Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC, said as a community hospital, TMC has long believed that art and nature promote a healing environment. “This collaborative effort threads together community art and healing and we are pleased to celebrate that connection and to serve as a canvas for Duneier’s inspiration.”