Back in 2016 the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation put out a Canada-wide Call for Artists to help transform the new Teck Acute Care Center into a ground-breaking place of healing. Knowing first hand the power of art in hospitals I applied with the hope that my art might be able to help children and adults of all ages. Two months later I got the call that they had selected me to create at first one and then two 360 degree murals! My wildest dream had come true but I barely had time to process the news… with a three month timeline from first draft to completion work had to start straight away!
It was a long journey from my initial vision to sketches, digital drafts, full-scale sample tests and finally creating the mural images on Adobe Illustrator. Once the digital images were created it was out of my hands: the murals were then printed onto panels similar to a vinyl car-wrap and installed as the new hospital was being finished. Read more about the process involved in the creation of the murals in these blog posts:
- Murals Complete: https://artbydi.ca/2016/10/19/bcch-murals/
- Making Murals: https://artbydi.ca/2016/08/20/making-murals/
I was able to visit the completed hospital during the artists open and again during the public open house and it truly is a remarkable place full of healing art. The artwork is not only gorgeous but functional too- helping to calm and distract patients and their families while perhaps giving them the comfort of familiar places throughout BC where they might call home.
General Procedure Room – 7th Floor
The General Procedure Room on floor 7 was the first room selected for me to illustrate. It is a space where children might be getting small surgical procedures and during so might benefit from some distracting imagery. I designed two scenes for this room: one was an alpine forest meadow with glacial lake and mountains in the background. It was inspired by my love for the mountains throughout BC but modeled on the Joffre Lakes region just north of Pemberton. The second scene (that would become the Radiology Room mural) was a coastal scene inspired by the beautiful Cape Roger Curtis on my home island of
Bowen, BC. The BCCHF, staff, current and past patients and their families met and decided on the Alpine scene for this room! I was thrilled! The calming greens and ample trees fit perfectly into the Forest theme on Floor 7. The animals were selected for their calm and gentle nature and iconic presence in Alpine regions throughout BC.
My favorite part of this mural: a momma Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus) and her baby frolicking against the colorful lakeside. The staff wanted lots of sparkles on the water- I was happy to oblige!
The forest side of the mural with alpine Pine Trees, Grey Jays (Perisoreus canadensis), Northern Checkerspot Butterflies (Chlosyne palla), Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis) resting amoungst the shady trees.
A small panorama showing the lake side of the 360 mural transitioning to meadows and a forest scene on the other side. It was difficult to capture the feeling of standing in the middle of the room with the 360 degree scene unfolding all around you.
A North American Moose (Alces alces) and Pika (Ochotona princeps) are just a few more of the animals helping to captivate children and bring life to the scene.
Radiology – 1st Floor
I was offered the ability to create a second mural for the Radiology Room after submitting my two concepts for the Procedure Room. The BC Coastal scene was a perfect fit for the BC Harbor and Underwater theme on the 1st Floor! This room was a bit of a challenge- the 360 degree mural would span across full and half-height walls, on angled pieces, around equipment and windows, and even over a two-sided room divider. I decided it would be perfect to do the inter-tidal portions on the lower walls where the focus would be on the small animals and sea life, with the distant islands and larger animals focused on the upper portion walls. The two-side room dividing wall features a small rocky island with otters on one side and sea birds (Black Oystercatchers – Haematopus bachmani) mirrored on both sides. Little footprints lead you over the rock to find the otters hiding on the other side.
The otter family hiding in the small alcove where families will stand while the x-ray is being taken in the center of the room. Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris) are iconic animals on the BC Coast due to their life amongst the kelp forests… and lets face it- they are adorable!
This room is full of calming blues, rippling water, sparkling sunlight and playful whales. Just like in the Alpine Scene room the staff had a request for me: add lots of sparkles on the water!
Some more inter-tidal life including a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) and Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina) surrounded by sea stars, crabs, barnacles and mussels.
One of the larger full-height walls in the room shows how the scene is set up: in the distance we see the mountains of the Sunshine Coast, the Pasley Islands with Orcas (Orcinus orca) cruising by, all the way down to the rocky intertidal zone with ample sea life and the ever abundant Western Sea Gull (Larus occidentalis).
And there they are! I am so happy with how both murals turned out. I hope they will live on to fulfill their duty of helping to calm, distract and entertain children of all ages for years to come.
Some more information about the murals and the new BC Children’s Hospital Teck Acute Care Center:
BC Children’s Hospital Foundation
Children’s Healing Experience Project
Murals Complete: https://artbydi.ca/2016/10/19/bcch-murals/
Making Murals: https://artbydi.ca/2016/08/20/making-murals/
Every time I see these images I smile. What a gift the children and the families have been given by you. Oh, and the radiologists, technicians, nurses and doctors working in these rooms are sure to admire as well.
A truly magical experience seeing this State of the Art Hospital loaded with colourful artwork from very talented artists! Your work will be truly appreciated! Congrats!
Diana, your photo essay about the BC Children’s Hospital murals had captivated me with the Alpine Scene, and then you immersed me in the multi-dimensional BC Coastal scene that has me swimming around the Radiology Room. I drift off in the cool waves, floating and taking it all in. Now, as my eyelids open and I start to type, I can hardly believe I’m back in my study. What a gift your art must be for the children who come into those rooms.