Artists unveil new mural at AHTV

Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley


September 14, 2019

Pat Doody

Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley President Jeff Lingerfelt next to the new mural at the hospital.

Butterflies are symbols of transformation, and that's exactly the sentiment a trio of local artists wanted to illustrate when they began conceiving a colorful mural in an inspired setting: the new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley hospital.

Following more than a year of planning and painting, artists Donald Towns, Otto Sturcke and Monica Lindsey unveiled their work – a sprawling piece featuring butterflies emerging from a tree of life and soaring toward a full moon, complete with iron art butterflies in the foreground.

The mural is located in an open-air courtyard in the hospital's center.

"We know that hospital stays are sometimes stressful for our patients and their loved ones. We wanted our courtyard to be a place where our visitors could slip away to steal a moment of peace and serenity, and this mural certainly helps contribute to that environment," Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley President Jeff Lingerfelt said.

Towns – who worked for Disney as a background artist and supervisor on children's classics The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, among other films – said when he conceived the mural that it was inspired by the theme of transformation and what it meant for Tehachapi.

At the time, the hospital was under construction and the opening was just months away. Towns said he was inspired by how Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley would help transform the health experience in the area.

The piece is just one of dozens lining the hospital walls created by local artists. Alta One Federal Credit Union donated $20,000 to sponsor the mural.

Pat Doody

The mural designers: Painting by Otto Sturcke; freestanding metal butterflies by Monica Lindsey and concept by Donald Towns.

"Our DNA is about wellness and community and heart, and I want to thank everyone for allowing us to be part of this beautiful thing, and allowing us into your community," said Alta One President and CEO Pam Easley.

The artwork incorporates a brass tree trunk that once served as the Guild of Tehachapi Hospital donor tree, and for decades was hung in the lobby of the old hospital on E Street.

"We transplanted it to this setting," Towns said.

It seemed most appropriate that when Sturcke was painting the piece, thousands of butterflies were migrating through the area. Towns described it as being a "providential sign" that the butterfly theme was the right direction.

"The butterflies almost jumped into the painting," Sturcke said.


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