Canandaigua VA Medical Center
Karen Buongiorno’s goal with the Sky Art project is to improve the quality of life for residents who spend extended hours in their beds. As nurse manager of Gladwin Hall Community Living Center located at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, Karen wanted to reduce the clinical appearance of their space by providing something visually beautiful to look at. Pen pal students from the Marcus Whitman School District agreed to help. The VA provided 2 ft. by 2 ft. blank white ceiling tiles and in return the students, using acrylic paint, created ceiling murals filled with color and imagination.
The first recipient of the murals was Jim Papin, Commander of his American Legion Post, who left much behind when admitted to the medical center to receive hospice services. One of his passions was gardening and of the murals he said "they make me think of a thousand things- my home, my yard, my flowers. I wake up and it is like looking at another garden; you should see it from my point of view."
Other residents' comments about our ceiling murals include: "they remind me of my grandchildren", "I don't wake up now and look at nothing", and "something nice to look at, I stay awake longer".
Family members have also responded positively. One resident's daughter, a teacher at a local school, has offered her time and is working on a dozen tiles. Other high school teachers have graciously agreed to help with the project. Nikki Allen, an Art Therapy Assistant and a graduate student at Nazareth College, solicited the talents of members of her Art Collective group and have donated additional sky murals.
Other VA facilities have learned about our project and feel this may benefit their patients as well. This has been a truly collaborative, inter facility, and inter generational effort. Residents have been touched by community spirit.
As the project grows, Karen noted “We would appreciate art donations from all ages, as we have a lot of space to cover!”