"Quercus Alba: a Branch from the Giving Tree"
In honor of their fifth anniversary in 2004, The Mercy Foundation’s Board of Directors knew it wanted to do something special to recognize those donors who made major gifts in the early years of its existence. Most institutions that have benefited from the financial support of donors display some form of "donor wall" to recognize those special gifts. The Mercy Foundation Board decided that, with the right design, our donor wall could accomplish more.
Rather than the usual wooden background with a list of names engraved in brass plaques, the Board opted to commission a new work of art, to be designed and created by a northern Minnesota artist. Mounted in a prominent position in Mercy’s main lobby, the work would be a permanent gift to the greater community from The Mercy Foundation. It would not only enhance the lobby area, but would invite viewers to come closer to the wall, where those donors would be recognized. Finally, it is hoped that this permanent display will let visitors, business associates and patients know that The Mercy Foundation exists, and that its work on behalf of Mercy Hospital is ongoing.
Wrought in a combination of stainless steel, copper and brass, a single long branch of white oak, with leaves and acorns, is mounted on the wall. The branch symbolizes the growth of The Mercy Foundation and the idea of its work as a "giving tree" to benefit Mercy. Framed in a coordinating metal frame and mounted under the shelter of the branch is the Foundation’s expression of gratitude to those donors whose accumulated gifts to The Mercy Foundation are $3,000 or more. Printed on parchment, the list is designed to be updated annually in December.
The commission for the work was awarded to metal sculptor Jeffrey Kreitz, who works from his studio, Creative Steel Work, Inc., in Crosslake, MN. The sculptor visited Mercy Hospital to look at the space and light and get a better sense of the Foundation’s goals for the piece. The Mercy Foundation’s motif, the white oak leaf and acorn, served as the basic inspiration for the work. The name "Quercus Alba" is the Latin name for the white oak.