New children’s hospital features fridge-worthy art work.

With the opening of the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, some awesome art has come to Iowa City—maybe even better than the finger paintings I did in kindergarten that my mom keeps on our fridge.

This past weekend I visited Iowa’s only nationally ranked children’s hospital to take a look at the new art pieces featured in the lobby.

While not a professional art critic myself, I snacked on some string cheese and drank a grape juice box while there, so I feel fully qualified to give my refined opinion that the art was really super duper cool.

The towering art resembles stacks of giant alphabet blocks, celebrating 12 towns throughout Iowa in a colorful and whimsical fashion. (Hey, that sounded pretty sophisticated!)

Each tower is topped with a unique wind vane and the blocks highlight the history and culture of towns such as Boone, Maquoketa, Sabula, and more. Making history and geography fun? This work of art truly pulls off the impossible.

They were created by artist Larry Kirkland, who has done a lot of giant artworks for airports, hospitals, and office buildings across the country. Mr. Kirkland told me that lobbies in children’s hospitals are environments for a patient’s “circle of support.” Patients may not spend much time there, but their parents, brothers, sisters, and other family members do. Mr. Kirkland says it’s his mission to create spaces that help families feel engaged.

I asked him how I could make a living playing with giant alphabet blocks, too, but all he told me was to stay in school. As he’s the creator of one of the newest piece of artistic excellence in Iowa, I’ll take his advice. I just hope my math teacher doesn’t mind me painting a still-life of my action figures during class.

Giant bird spotted building new nest in nationally ranked children’s hospital.

Anyone who’s looked up recently has probably witnessed a strange sight circling the skies of Iowa City. We’re talking about Perky, the feathered mascot of Iowa’s only nationally ranked children’s hospital, and Herky’s cousin.

Known for her cheerful demeanor, love of children, and insistence that dinosaurs did indeed have feathers, Perky has been recently spotted flying high over the site of the new, state-of-the-art, UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. As the new hospital nears completion and opens in early 2017, Perky is hard at work building her own, state-of-the-art nest to match.

The location of the new nest is still unknown at this point. Mascot wildlife experts predict it will be very close to the new hospital, making it easy for Perky to visit the children and lift their spirits with games of peek-a-boo, musical performances on her favorite xylophone, and free handfuls of bird seed.

So if you see a human-sized bird flying overhead, don’t be alarmed, it’s probably just Perky on her way to pick out new curtains for her nest. Either that or someone brought a pterodactyl back to life and we’re all doomed.

UI Children’s Hospital changes name but doesn’t change being awesome.

As anyone who was one of four Jasons in a single classroom knows, a good, unique name has its advantages. And so University of Iowa Children’s Hospital has officially unveiled its new name as University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The change honors the Stead Family’s support for the children’s hospital and celebrates all the families and children who call Iowa home. The new name will grace the brand new, state-of-the-art children’s hospital opening in early 2017.

To clarify how the new name is properly pronounced, we consulted the sixth grade spelling bee champion, Hugh Kantbeetmi, who assured us it was pronounced STEAD, as in BREAD, and FAMILY as in WAMILY and is of Iowan origin. With the name change comes an updated logo, which means new signage, new lab coats, and a golden opportunity for all employees to get another shot at not blinking while taking their work ID photos.

The new name goes into effect on November 11. University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is the only nationally ranked children’s hospital in Iowa, and the new building promises to bring a new level of care, comfort and super sweet play areas to children across the state and beyond.