Mosaic provides inspiration at Avera Marshall facility

John Doyle of Marshall enjoys reading in front of the Camden Splendor mosaic and fireplace in the front lobby for both the Avera Marshall hospital and Avera Cancer Institute-Marshall. Doyle lives at the Morningside Heights Care Center, which has interior connections to the main lobby.

MARSHALL — The Camden Splendor mosaic created by artist Shanda Landes captures the attention of many visitors at the front lobby of the Avera health care facilities.

It gets noticed by cancer center patients, hospital visitors, nursing home residents, family members and friends. For John and Bonnie Doyle of Marshall, it becomes a highlight of almost every day.

As part of a walk throughout much of the facility, John and Bonnie frequently stop at the lobby to enjoy the scenery and colors contained in the mosaic. It depicts a river scene similar to what can be found at Camden State Park, located about 10 miles southwest of Marshall.

Camden was given state park status because of its upstream geography along the Redwood River, which flows from its source near Ruthton to the Minnesota River near Redwood Falls.

It is a southwestern most site of a climax maple-basswood forest, like those found throughout much of central Minnesota. The forest has a permanent maple-basswood tree mix.

Landes, an art teacher in the Glencoe-Silver Lake School District for more than 30 years in addition to being a professional artist, created the mosaic based on a watercolor by artist Karen Reede, formerly of Marshall. It took shape as a result of a grant application process conducted by Avera as part of the start-up of the Avera Cancer Institute-Marshall.

The cancer treatment area was a result of Avera’s decision to own Marshall’s hospital and nursing home. Weiner Memorial Medical Center entered into a partnership with Avera in 2004. It was followed by full Avera ownership in 2009.

“I was interested in the grant process because of my family’s experience facing cancer,” Landes said. “My proposal was open ended and fluid, one that could have involved at least several choices for a medium based on their needs. They decided to work toward a mosaic after finding out that it’s one of my specialties.”

Her mother lived with her for four months of cancer treatments in order to be closer to a hospital with cancer services. They only had to travel 25 minutes instead of what would have been a five-hour round trip.

Likewise, Marshall area cancer patients can now receive care within the region instead of having to travel 100 miles or more.

Reede’s watercolor became a logical basis for a larger mosaic counterpart. Reede lived in Marshall for 33 years and played a role in founding the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council. She has professional experience in occupational and speech therapy.

In order to best represent the spirit of Reede’s painting in mosaic format, Landes carefully created her own sketches and photographs, then selected glass colors and lastly completed the glueing process.

“It was like painting, only with glass,” she said. “I enjoyed the challenge. It’s a pleasure to look back on the process of creating something for a central location in the main lobby. I’m happy that it’s helpful to patients and their families.”

Those who view the mosaic gain a “fire and water” impression because of its pride of place above the lobby’s fireplace. Large windows on the east side offer a view of South Bruce Street, while the opposite wall contains a complete history of Marshall’s hospital expansion.

Doyle, a retired Marshall Middle School social studies teacher, is a resident of the Morningside Heights Care Center at age 86. He has an active daily routine that includes attending nursing home events such as an afternoon accordian performance at the end of January. He hopes to locate copies of the Marshall area’s Country Squire publication, which was distributed in newsletter format circa 1970s. He regularly contributed to it by writing columns.

Bonnie, a retired Marshall children’s librarian who worked at the Marshall-Lyon County Library and later Marshall Middle School, said both she and John enjoy the Camden Splendor mosaic on a daily basis.

“It’s always a pleasure to see it because it’s very soothing,” Bonnie said. “We’re reminded of all the good things we’ve enjoyed and still enjoy.”