Healing Garden Comes To Life

By Kelley Cooper

Part of the initial design of the institute when it opened in 2008, the garden remained in the planning stages until some of the institute’s staunchest benefactors stepped up to bring the comforting outdoor setting to life.

The former lawmaker from Arkadelphia and his wife were on hand for a dedication ceremony July 21 at UAMS recognizing them and Vic Jacuzzi of Little Rock for their contributions to the garden, designed to offer a soothing environment for patients on the outpatient units. Jacuzzi donated two steel sculptures to the garden in honor of his late daughter, Stacey Jacuzzi Antes.

Designed by Tanner Weeks of Ecological Design Group of Little Rock, the garden was constructed by Clark Contractors of Little Rock. The statues donated by Jacuzzi, “Snap” and “Tempest,” were designed by Terra Sculpture of Los Angeles.

The garden reflects the institute’s holistic approach to its patients’ well-being, said Pedro Delgado, M.D., director of the Psychiatric Research Institute and chairman of the UAMS Department of Psychiatry, at the dedication. “The staff has a great deal of respect for people who have mental illness and their families. This is a place where people work well together, and those values are reflected in this healing garden.”

“What all of you do every day is make a huge difference. I am truly humbled that I have the ability to play a part in this,” Percy Malone told the faculty and staff on hand for the dedication ceremony. “This work needs to continue.”

Jacuzzi recalled the story of his daughter, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a condition that left his daughter “fragile” and eventually led to her suicide.

“Subsequently, I became active with the institute, as many other supporters do, because of my family’s personal experiences,” said Jacuzzi. “After my daughter’s loss, I wanted to find out more about bipolar disorder and advocate for mental health awareness. I thought that the proposal of a healing garden was a great idea for patients to help ease the stress of dealing with their mental health condition.”