For young and old alike, receiving chemotherapy and infusion treatments can be uncomfortable and stressful. At Hudson Hospital Chemotherapy & Infusion Center, the pediatric infusion treatment room received a wonderful gift to help provide calm and distraction during treatments – a mural. The painting is another reminder of the healing environment philosophy at Hudson Hospital & Clinic incorporating the healing arts.
“I started this project with a healthy amount of ambition, knowing perfectly well that sitting in a tiny room getting treatments is the last way kids want to spend their time. I wanted this mural to be something that a wide-range of youth could visually explore and interact with,” says artist Gretchen Hoehn, Hudson. Along with her desire to paint a comforting outdoor scene, her inspiration for the mural also came from books like ‘I Spy’ or ‘Magic Eye’ which are perfect for youth engagement. “At first glance, you see a whimsical tree and sunset, kids playing, flowers blowing… a local feel with the city skyline in the distance. Look a bit closer, however, and you’ll find hidden words, shapes, and faces emerging within the swooping lines in the clouds, branches, and tree roots. Complete with nutritious picnic food and helmeted bicyclists,” says Hoehn.
After five years at UW Stevens Point, Hoehn graduated with a BFA in Studio Art and a BA in Dance. She has always wanted to illustrate for children’s books. This mural was a perfect start. “As for the most interactive part of the mural, I give full credit to one of the nurses, Pat Larson, RN, Hudson Hospital Infusion & Chemotherapy Center, who cleverly suggested that the each child could stamp their thumbprint onto the tree roots,” added Hoehn. “It’s fun for the kids but also a pretty cool metaphor; that with the help of these kid’s, the tree will continue to grow.”