Opening doors in our community at the Art of Compassion Celebration for EveryStep

What does the old Elliott Hotel downtown have to do with Amanda the Panda, HCI Hospice Care Services or Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa?

Doors from the former luxury hotel were used symbolically in a pergola designed by Silent Rivers to set the stage for Art of Compassion. This fundraising event celebrates EveryStep, the new name of the umbrella organization behind all these amazing services.

Silent Rivers pergola for EveryStep Art of Compassion

The pergola designed by Silent Rivers for the EveryStep Art of Compassion celebration was the centerpiece of the theme “opening doors in our community”.

Art of Compassion EveryStep logoThe Art of Compassion

For the annual EveryStep fundraising gala called Art of Compassion, Silent Rivers founder and sculptor Chaden Halfhill suggested a doors concept to convey how this organization opens doors to healing and support for more than 65,000 Iowans.

Compassion for humanity and community are foundational to EveryStep, just as it is for Chaden Halfhill. Compassion is at the core of the 30+ care and support programs offered by this wonderful nonprofit. In existence since 1908, it was 110 years and several expansions later they created the fitting name of EveryStep. Through every step of life, this organization leads the charge in cultivating empathy and financial support needed for effective community-based healthcare and social services, including:

  • Education to young moms
  • Assistance to immigrants and refugees
  • Wellness services to communities
  • In-home care to people who are ill, injured or facing the end of life
  • Compassionate support to families during times of grief and loss.


A symbolic pergola

Silent Rivers was pleased to lend our artistry to their Art of Compassion celebration. To represent how EveryStep opens doors for Iowans, Chaden designed a pergola with eight doors as the centerpiece for their social gala.

Representing doorways and connection to community, this pergola symbolizes that together we can build stronger communities that support learning, safety, healthcare and the comfort of home.

As my wife got her start in nursing and women’s health care at VNS and many of our friends have used the services of EveryStep’s hospice care, I was moved to create something that provides a sanctuary for EveryStep supporters.”

Chaden Halfhill

To help breathe life into Chaden’s design concept, Tom Bloxham and Alex Schlepphorst jumped into the creation process. These two talented artisans in the Silent Rivers Woodshop have built more than a few pergolas over the years — all of them magnificent! Check out a few examples of Silent Rivers pergolas »

The artist within Chaden knew the doors for this pergola were to be something special. Not just any doors; something that signified community and history, After all, EveryStep has supported the Iowa community for more than a century.


Doors from former luxury hotel in downtown Des Moines

Chaden was able to connect with the team from The Elliott at 219 Fourth Street just off Court Avenue. Recent renovations at the former Elliott Hotel represented a perfect source for doors. What was once upscale European-style lodging built in 1879, then affordable housing until a 2016 fire, is now 77 boutique apartments known as The Elliott. Chaden, Tom and Alex incorporated doors salvaged from the iconic building!

Silent Rivers building the Art of Compassion pergola for EveryStep

Doors salvaged from The Elliott are refinished by Tom Bloxham and Alex Schlepphorst (not shown) and installed into the pergola frame.

Chaden Halfhill Silent Rivers pergola for Art of Compassion EveryStep gala in West Des Moines

Chaden Halfhill poses at the pergola at the Art of Compassion gala. It became a popular photo backdrop before being auctioned off!

The doors are fit into the 14’x14′ cedar and steel frame of the 11′ high pergola. The traditional style doors anchor the four corners of the pergola, creating easy entry from all sides while fostering a sense of intimacy and comfort within the pergola.

The design welcomes people into its sanctuary. In this space, people can come together, connect and offer support to one another through a sense of community.


A successful event

A few hundred people attended the Art of Compassion celebration at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines on October 10, 2019. Leading up to the big event, many people and organizations throughout the community had created clubhouses. You may have seen them on display at Jordan Creek Town Center throughout September. These, along with the pergola and other fantastic items, were bid on during an exciting live auction that proceeded the silent auction and dinner.

The program during dinner was filled with delightful and emotionally stirring stories of the care EveryStep has provided Iowans over the past year. This organization provides comfort, care and reassurance at every stage of life — including life’s most difficult moments — by empowering individuals, supporting families and strengthening Iowa communities through their many programs and services.

EveryStep truly lives up to their vision of ensuring “all individuals have access to health care and support services to live their best lives”.

Silent Rivers invites you to get to know EveryStep »

And if you’re interested in a custom designed pergola, let’s talk!


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