Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (TMC) and Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) are proud to partner together in order to bring The Butterfly Project, sponsored by Christensen Building Group, to the Rick Smith Gallery, a small art gallery located near the main lobby of Memorial Hermann-TMC in the Hermann atrium. The Butterfly Project was created by HMH as a way to connect a new generation of children to the children who perished during the Holocaust.
In 1942, a young Czech named Pavel Friedmann wrote a poem titled “The Butterfly.” Friedmann wrote the poem while in the Terezin Concentration Camp before he died in Auschwitz in 1944. “The Butterfly” voiced the spirit of the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust. As part of The Butterfly Project, students from around the world have created butterflies that commemorate individual children whose lives were lost during the Holocaust, and mailed them to HMH.
“This project has served as a learning moment for thousands and thousands of students,” said Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga, executive director of the Museum. “The Butterfly Project is a movement of hope and humanity. It calls on each of us to help shape our future and create a world without hate or negativity, where all lives are treated with dignity and respect.”
The installation, which will be on display through September, includes handmade butterflies from six continents, a ‘wishing wall’ where guests can write down their own wishes for a better world, and panoramic photography from Houston artist Syd Moen. The Rick Smith Gallery installation is one of six traveling displays of The Butterfly Project, and features a sample from the more than 1.5 million butterflies collected by HMH.
This is the gallery’s seventh installment since it opened in 2012. Previous exhibitions have featured paintings, photographs, mixed media and sculptures by physicians and hospital employees; professional photographic images of the Campus’ beloved therapy pets; hand-drawn portraits of caregivers by pediatric patients; and a history of Memorial Hermann Life Flight®.
The Rick Smith Gallery, which was funded through employee contributions to the Annual Employee Campaign, was created in memory of Rick Smith, the late director of Chaplaincy Services at Memorial Hermann-TMC who understood the importance of healing the body, mind and soul. He led by example, demonstrating how spirituality in the workplace supports an environment of healing, and he often encouraged self-expression in others as a way to make a personal contribution to that healing. The gallery is an expression of his vision and spirit. It is open to all employees, patients and visitors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.