Northwest Specialty Clinics at RiverBend


In the contemporary world, we frequently think of art as something beautiful and decorative but, historically, art has always been fundamental to the creation of all things sacred. Art carves out special environments that are removed from the mundane and commonplace.

The works of art created for our building have the same purpose, to move beyond the ordinary and to inspire confidence in the extraordinary care provided here. To accomplish this, we have developed artwork inspired by a fusion of holistic Chinese medicine, coupled with advanced Western science. The Five Elements of Chinese Medicine served as inspiration for the building's environment.

The Five Element Theory originated with the ancient Taoists and was used by Eastern physicians to understand the correlation between the human body and the natural world. Each floor represents an element, and each element is explored visually.

The artwork found throughout the building is a Western interpretation of Eastern sources. The elements and their relationship to one another are a reflection of the unity and balance of nature and the need for holism in all of medicine.

While visiting our building you will discover sculptures that depict the Five Elements - metal, water, wood, fire, and earth - all of which echo the commitment of Northwest Specialty Clinics' doctors, nurses, and staff to create a dynamic balance between technology, medicine, and art.

Each sculpture follows the shape and color of its corresponding Chinese element. They are designed as pictograms and play off Chinese calligraphic characters. Individual sculpture galleries have been created for each.

These sculptural environments were configured digitally and a computer controlled device was used to carve the back mounting wall and side columns. This fusion of traditional hand-carved art and high-tech computer design and manufacturing is at the core of our art and reflects our goal of incorporating traditional practices with cutting-edge technology. We consider our art "an exploration of the reciprocal nature of medicine as a science and art, and art as a science and vehicle for healing."

- Reed Kratka, M.D.

Sculptures designed by Terry Balle, PhD of the Balle Grey Studio.