Painting Murals at Hospitals

Painting Murals at Hospitals

Art resting on the walls of a hospital, even a children’s hospital, is unexpected. We were honored to be given the opportunity to do just this. I won’t bore you with a typical anecdote about children not wanting to go see the doctor much less enter a hospital – however it’s this thought we keep in mind when painting murals at hospitals.

Painting communicates itself most completely when it can grow past visual presentation and awaken our other senses. Too many paintings are trapped in their gilded frames or behind glass, albeit for protection or practical presentation, but leaving much to be desired. Children, even more so, are prone to ignore a dusty square above their heads. Past visual stimulation, paintings can be heard, whether a thousand words or just one mumble, art speaks. But the unseen sensation in painting is most often touch. An almost seemingly forbidden thing, especially in a museum or even a house, probably something a child would never be permitted to do. Murals provide freedom from this. No such constraints as wood or glass, only confined to how large a wall is.

 

 

With this mural, in particular, we wanted to provide a piece of art that communicates to all the senses, but especially those of the children who may need all the delighted distractions we can provide. Children can almost hear loud giant waves crashing down beside them. Touch is essentially a requirement when you first encounter the coral reefs, brilliant blazing hues of every color, projecting themselves outward. They see pylons with their vivid barnacles and starfish drawing their eyes upward, where, from above, light falls incandescently through wooden floor boards as they walk or roll under the pier into an almost cozy looking beach house.

It is truly a rare pleasure when an artist is able to create and work with a space so completely. We, along with the help and encouragement from St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s excellent executive staff, were able to include and even improve upon the building’s architecture, capturing children and their family’s imagination and ensnaring the senses, if only for a moment, before they must face whatever brought them to the hospital in the first place.