Colourful mural created for children grieving a loved one

A fantasy mural in the children’s room at St Joseph’s Hospice is nearly complete. Here, Kathy King, centre, of the Sarnia Artists Workshop, is seen with the Hospice’s Kellie Van Hooren, left, and Maria Muscedere. Submitted Photo

Cathy Dobson

The freshly-painted pandas, parrots and butterflies adorning the wall in the children’s room at St. Joseph’s Hospice are a colourful and lasting gift from the Sarnia Artists Workshop.

“It’s the first thing the children see when they walk into the room,” says Kellie Van Hooren, children’s program co coordinator at the hospice.

She runs free programs for bereaved children age three to 18, or for children with a loved one who is dying.

“It’s beautiful and it’s inviting,” said Van Hooren. “The mural makes this a child-friendly environment with its bright colours.”

An entire 12-foot wall was covered with a fantasy scene of animals and nature over the past month.

Kathy King, president of the Sarnia Artists Workshop (SAW), and Karen Schaw donated their time to finish the mural. It was started by Paul Salisbury, who due to unforeseen circumstance was unable to complete the project.

“This is the Workshop’s 50th anniversary,” explained Schaw. “In recognition of that, we donated some money to the hospice and talked about what else we could do for them.  Then we saw the wall and we knew.

“The room is used by Kellie and the children and she can talk about the mural in her program,” Schaw said. “The kids asked for some of the animals that we added like a pink hippo and a dinosaur.

“It has been so much fun to let our imaginations run wild,” added King.

SAW’s 140 members intend to donate more to the hospice as their 50th anniversary continues.

Donations at the door of the Workshop’s upcoming “Art at the Lake” show will be given to hospice. The show on Nov. 14, 15 and 16 includes the work of 60 local artists including painters, jewelry artisans, glass blowers, woodworkers, photographers, potters and more.

Paintings by watercolour artist Kathy Rath will be featured. On Friday, Nov. 14, Accent Trio from London will play retro swing and bossa nova music. A silent auction is planned to benefit hospice, as well as a cash bar and art demos.

Art at the Lake takes place this year at the Lambton College Event Centre. It’s wheelchair accessible and open Friday 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.;  and Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Admission is free although donations to the hospice are gratefully accepted.