Dan Angeles, a graduate of De La Sa Lae-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines, came to UF Health Shands Hospital after being diagnosed with metastatic osteosarcoma. During his treatment, Dan was able to spend time, from his hospital bed, creating a design for the Harn Museum of Art’s Asian Rock Garden.

With the help of Integrative Medicine Practitioner Lorraine Lund, Dan spent many hours researching the process of Zen garden design. Then he perfected his technique through focused practice using a special rake developed by two UF Engineering students working with the Innovation Academy. The rake was 3d-printed to scale and fitted with charcoal prongs to simulate raking the garden.

Dan stayed up late the night before his 21st birthday finalizing his design. A team of UF landscape architecture student volunteers led by Harn Asian Garden Specialist Martin McKellar made his vision come to life.

This opportunity providing art and creativity to patients is a partnership between the Harn, UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine, UF Health Integrative Medicine and UF Innovation Academy.

UF landscape architecture students and Harn volunteers Christopher Nelson, Bree Ross, Joey Amodo and Nathania Martinez work with Martin McKellar to rake Dan’s design.

Dan’s Design

Dan spent time researching different raking patterns prior to designing the garden. He wanted to present a design that was his own, incorporating both patterns he had seen that he liked and unique patterns.

The east side of the garden features more conventional designs such as the ripples from raindrops, circles, and the overlapping patterns that evoke checkerboards. One area took the resemblance of a sun as he crossed his paths back to where he started. The west side of the garden is where Dan chose to do something different. “Instead of having ‘waves’ surrounding ‘mountains,’” he said, “I chose to have the lines intersect with the different features of the landscape, creating a contrast between the two sides of the path.”

Dan tried to put himself into a ‘Zen mindset’ before he began drawing. He spontaneously drew a heart shape in a corner of the garden, as it “felt right.” Later he found out that the original designer of the garden, Hoichi Kurisu, had also made a heart shape for the garden’s first raking.

Dan’s design can be viewed in the Asian Rock Garden through August 1, 2017.

A portion of the content on this page was developed by UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine. For their full story visit this link.

The Garden Reveal

Lorraine Lund, Integrative Medicine Practitioner; Martin McKellar, Harn Asian Garden Specialist and volunteer; and Nathania Martinez, UF landscape architecture student and volunteer video-chatted with Dan to show him the final Asian Rock Garden design.

Innovative Design

UF Engineering students Chad Zubka and Domenic Aluise designed the special rake used by Dan to create his drawing. They are mentored by Amy Bucciarelli, Academic Coordinator, Innovation Academy.