MMA Employee paints mural for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
[MMA News Now, June 16, 2010] The walls of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare are a lot more colorful thanks to Karolyn Stirewalt, Policy Counsel at the Minnesota Medical Association.
Stirewalt painted and donated a 16-foot long mural for the clinic. The artwork was revealed Wednesday, June 9 at the newly expanded Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.
The mural, which has been placed on temporary walls due to the hospital’s expansion project, will be continually moved to various construction sites within the building in hopes of dressing up the construction area, giving it a more colorful and lively appeal.
“The mural is a vibrant celebration of our growth,” said Amy-Ann Mayberg, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare representative.
Stirewalt approached Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare with the idea of creating a piece of artwork for the new expansion. After meeting with the Vice President of Operations and other Gillete staff, Gillette was readily receptive and appreciative for Stirewalt’s time and talent, Mayberg said.
The detailed mural took Stirewalt 12 weeks to complete. The 16-by 7-foot acrylic wood painting features a parade of people on a path from the existing Gillette building the new construction. The characters depicted are actual hospital staff and volunteers, as well as service dogs Gillette patients would recognize. The surrounding buildings are of corporate contributors as well as local attractions that visiting families may be interested in visiting.
Stirewalt included specific details and representations in hopes that “patients will see the patients in the mural and be able to identify with them… to see themselves,” Stirewalt said.
The mural also includes kid-friendly attributes and embellishments. The adults depicted have name tags, the water in the fountain has glitter paint, and the hospital windows and the moon and stars in the sky glow in the dark.
“I did this to give young patients the impression that the lights are always on at Gillette,” Stirewalt said, “and that it is a safe place for them to be—even at nighttime.”
Stirewalt has been practicing since her own childhood and has dedicated her career to improving health care. She is in her fifth year working as in-house counsel for the Minnesota Medical Association where she advocates for physicians and practices health law. Stirewalt also started an art company called Splash of Red Studio, L.L.C., with the goal to “create artwork that will provide a sense of inspiration and solace to patients and their health care teams,” she said.
The opportunity to create this mural gave Stirewalt the chance to further her aspirations and use her artistic talents. She believes it is important to combine art and medicine because “research studies show that patients who feel happy and engaged in their surroundings heal faster. I want to help by creating artwork for medical facilities that will generate those feelings.”
Stirewalt is continuing her work with Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare by painting tables with a “find the hidden objects” theme. The series of tables will be placed in the hospital’s new coffee shop. The tables will consist of colorful objects connected like jigsaw puzzle pieces, with a border featuring rhyming questions that will list the hidden objects to find within the puzzle.
Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare expansion project is scheduled to be done in three parts. The first part includes a new Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, expected to be done in the summer of 2010. The second part will include the new building across University Avenue from the hospital and renovations to the fourth floor in the existing building, expected to be completed in late 2010. And the expansion of Gillette’s surgery will begin in 2011.
Follow the 12-week painting creation at SplashofRedStudio.com.