The Healing Power of Art

Gene and Sheelah Windfeldt have been generous supporters of CentraCare Health for many years. Yet, when you ask Gene what motivates him to give back, he’ll quickly tell you that he doesn’t look at it that way. “I don’t consider it giving back,” said Gene. “I feel we have a responsibility to make our community a better place. We’re all a product of our community, so the more we can do to help others, the better.” That spirit is what drives the Windfeldt family in their efforts to have a positive impact on St. Cloud and communities throughout Central Minnesota.

Gene spent most of his career with Kirby Vacuum, serving as the company’s CEO for 10 years. After he retired, he worked with his son, Michael, who was involved in the art business, and they partnered with Thomas Kincaid to open several art galleries. It was through these experiences that he found an appreciation for art’s healing power. “I really believe art can help with the healing process,” said Gene. “So we worked with the CentraCare Health Foundation to find opportunities where art could play a role in impacting patients and their families.”

Gene is now retired from the art business, but it’s still a passion and he has many art industry connections. One of those connections happens to be actress Jane Seymour.

When they first met in 2001, Seymour had just launched her own art endeavor. Years later, they asked her if she would be interested in creating an art sculpture for the CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center. Not only did she agree to create an open-heart sculpture, but also traveled to St. Cloud in May to take part in the artwork’s unveiling at the 2017 Spring Fling event.

The Windfeldts funded Jane Seymour’s sculpture and worked locally with Coldspring, a natural stone manufacturer, to create a granite base to complete the piece, which now welcomes people at the entrance to the CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center. “It turned out great,” said Gene. “We’re grateful to be able to support CentraCare in this way.”

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