Reaching New Heights 5

Artist’s Donation Caps Hospital Expansion

For the last few years when driving on Route 22 in Lake Barrington, it was clear something big was taking place at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. Recently, the hospital’s major addition and renovation project were completed, revealing the importance of creating an atmosphere of healing for patients, visitors and staff.

Even before entering the building, long-time visitors will notice a new look to the campus: re-routed driveways, expanded parking and newly landscaped grounds with a larger pond, walking paths and now, a new sculpture that embraces the mission of the hospital.

The recently dubbed “Everest Easel” was erected in June and can be found on a walking path near the east entrance of the Good Shepherd campus. Created by Dr. Russell Riendeau, a local artist, musician, author, and business executive, the brilliant blue steel sculpture stands 15 feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds.

“Russ once approached me about displaying his sculpture during a local event,” recalled Brad Stetson, Chairman/CEO of Barrington Bank & Trust and a member of the hospital governing council. “It really was quite unique and interestingly creative. Because it was a rather large piece of art, I was a bit concerned where I could safely place it around the bank, so unfortunately, back then I had to politely decline his offer.

“Later, Russ and I shifted gears to consider the possibility of donating the sculpture to the hospital as part of the campus modernization project. I contacted Sue Abderholden, Vice President of Development for Advocate Charitable Foundation, to tell her about the unique sculpture and how it might fit in on the hospital grounds.”

A longtime Barrington resident, Riendeau, also a partner with Jobplex/DHR International (a retained search firm in Chicago), recently shared the inspiration behind his project: “The idea for this easel came to me one night. I jotted down a picture of what I thought it would look like and went back to sleep. Over the next few months, the idea would not go away, so I took the next step by finding a metal fabricator who was just crazy enough to help. The piece is all about setting goals and framing them in a way they can be achieved. The wacky abstractness symbolizes that “perfect” is an illusion and good enough now is good enough.

“This piece is to help inspire those individuals needing hope or just an amusing distraction,” he said. “I want them to see the messages that are part of everyday life, especially so when undergoing a struggle,” Riendeau added.

“We are very grateful to Russ for his generous donation,” said Karen Lambert, Good Shepherd CEO. “I like how the piece allows individuals to frame a scene of the hospital grounds. From one angle it frames the original farm houses on our campus. From another, it frames the front of the new lobby entrance.”

Lambert added one more feature of Riendeau’s sculpture that seems especially appropriate given the era we live in today: “It’s also a wonderful backdrop for selfies for our patients, associates, and physicians.”

Michael Beightol is an area marketing consultant and contributing writer to SW Lake Lifestyle Magazine. He can be reached via or by calling 312.339.0055.