It may not be just what the doctor ordered, but for 11-year-old Ava MacNeill, the new artwork on the hospital walls is the perfect remedy to put a smile on her face.
Ava has been undergoing months of chemo at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown. As her mom wheels her along the corridors, they stop for a closer look at one of the images that’s caught Ava’s fancy.
“I like the rainbow one. It reminds me of Skittles,” Ava said. “Like eating the rainbow.”
Her mom, April Scott, from Glenwilliam, P.E.I., agrees with Ava’s choice. “I’m a big fan of the rainbow that’s colourful — just like Ava.”
The original scenery on the walls had been there for years and was chipped and faded. Hospital staff wanted something bright and cheerful and decided on a sky blue background filled with things that fly — from birds and bugs to helicopters and planes.
The new artwork gives Ava and her mom some relief from the boredom.
“There’s only so much you can do in a little tiny room so this gets us out and allows us to do things together,” Scott said.
“Just walk down the hall and say what colours we like, see what’s new. Everything is done by hand, every stroke, every highlight, it’s beautiful, beautiful work.”
‘Hospitalization can be scary for kids’
Hospital staff are pleased to hear that patients and their families are getting so much joy from the cheery images.
“Hospitalization can be scary for kids and we just wanted to create a space that looks child-friendly,” said Julie Biso, nurse manager of the Pediatric Unit at the QEH.
“There was a little girl watching them paint,” Biso said. “I came down one day and the little girl had the paint brush, helping do a little side job, so it’s those things that make the world of difference when kids are hospitalized.”
The work is being done by the husband and wife team from Shiny Paint Art Company, Ryan and Starla Wilson. The two-week painting job is expected to be done by Monday.
‘Let your mind wander’
“I get to see the kids and I get to see them look at the artwork and their reactions to it,” Starla Wilson said.
“I think that could be a positive thing when you’re maybe not feeling your best to just let your mind wander and dream and walk through the halls and see some cheerful stuff,” she said.
“I would say your positive attitude and feeling cheerful would definitely help recovery with whatever you’re going through,” Wilson said.
Ava and her mom April Scott stop to talk to the painters to express their thanks. “I just wanted to let them know that it does mean a lot to these kids,” Scott said. “And to the parents, because it’s fun for them, too.”
Meanwhile, Ava is captivated by another image — one of dreamy stars. “It kind of reminds me if you’re looking at the stars through the window at home,” she said.
“Bright colours make me feel happy.”