NORWAY— Art students from Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway have been painting a mural in one of the buildings in Stephens Memorial Hospital, and they have recently completed their project. After Christmas break, starting on Jan. 6, students participated in creating a starry sky mural in the hospital.
For weeks, the students from the Guy E. Rowe School Art Club came to Stephens to paint a mural along one of the hallways connecting the Ripley Building to the main hospital building.
Each Monday and Wednesday after school, art teacher Alisa Blundon would walk with a group of students to SMH to work on the mural.
Blundon said that every year she has two art classes, one of which focuses on community projects. For this year’s project, she wanted to create artwork at SMH.
‘The reason why I picked Stephens is because a lot of the students have been there and because it is close to the school,’ said Blundon.
The students jointly composed a letter to directors at Stephens, letting them know what they hope to create.
‘We would like to create a place in the hospital that your visitors can go for a calming moment,’ the students wrote in the letter.
The letter also informed the directors that the mural will feature a large shooting start to represent happiness, faith, hope and light in dark times that patients or family of patients may face.
‘In addition, we intend to include encouraging quotes along the walls leading up to the mural. These are to inspire optimism and cheer,’ the letter continued.
The letter and idea received approval from workers at SMH.
‘These students are working hard doing this as a community project,’ wrote Abigail Graiver, Director of Creative Services at Stephens Memorial Hospital.
Because there was not enough space for Blundon to take a lot of students, she came up with an idea on how to select which students to bring to paint the mural. She asked any student wishing to participate in the project to write a letter to her, telling her why they should be chosen to participate.
Many of the students that wrote said that they had some personal connection to the hospital, either having been born there or had family members born there.
To others, it was because art meant a lot to them and they wanted to be involved in the community project.
Fourth-grader Emily Cummings wrote in her letter to Blundon, ‘When I was nine, I was in a bad car accident with my grandparents and little brother, Ben. We were lucky that everyone in the car was okay! We were all really stressed out and I realize now that it would have been really helpful if we’d had something pretty to look at.’
Fifth-grader Marita Bonville wrote, ‘I want to join this part of art club because Stephens Memorial Hospital saved my brother’s life. His appendix burst before we even got there. Me and my family are lucky he lived. I feel like I should pay them back for savings my brother … I will paint the mural with respect and kindness, for my brother and all the people who are sick and hurt.’
In all, 11 students from fourth to fifth grade were chosen to paint the mural.
Before the mural was painted onto the wall, stud ents gathered with Blundon to share their ideas as to what the picture should be about. Once the idea for a starry sky was created, students spent long nights working together on it, sometimes working until as late as 9 p. m.
The mural was finished on Jan. 29, and shows a starry night sky with encouraging and optimistic sayings down the hall.
When asked their favorite part of doing the project, Guy E. Rowe students’ answers ranged from sketching the designs for the mural, to painting the shooting star. The students got feedback from people saying that seeing the mural made their day.
What all the students agreed upon was that it made them feel good helping other people feel happy and at peace.
Personnel at Stephens Memorial Hospital are holding a reception for the students and parents of students that participated in the project on Monday, Feb. 10, thanking students for all of their hard work and dedication and for making the hallway beautiful.
PAINT THE SKY— Guy E. Rowe students have been hard at work completing a starry sky mural in one of the hallways at Stephens Memorial Hospital.