Keuka College students paint several murals in a Thompson Hospital stairwell — which encourages staff to take the stairs
During a busy shift, some of the staff members at UR Medicine Thompson Hospital might not get the chance to take a walk around the block or even step outside for a few minutes, so a group from Keuka College recently brought the outdoors inside for them.
Working with Melissa Newcomb, associate professor of art, for their summer field period, the three students painted a series of several murals in a stairwell that starts on the lower level and goes all the way to the third floor, featuring lake scenes and other bright and colorful depictions of nature as well as a series of inspirational quotes.
In fact, one of the quotes — from Vincent van Gogh — seems especially fitting: “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
“When we made the proposal, the whole idea was about creating an environment people could enjoy — something they could look forward to on a daily basis,” said Ashley Knapp, a Palmyra-Macedon alumna due to graduate from Keuka in 2020.
The project follows another one involving a stairway mural completed at the hospital in the summer of 2018 by artists from Canandaigua Academy. Newcomb collaborated last summer with the CA students and teacher, and this summer partnered with Thompson’s wellness and facility services departments for the latest project, which is larger and in a stairwell that gets more use. Thompson Health wellness manager Tina Acevedo said it’s all part of an ongoing effort to encourage hospital staff members to stay active, opting for the stairs instead of the elevators.
While working on the mural in early July, student Ayrielle Zeno said the group received a great deal of ongoing, positive feedback from hospital staffers in the stairwell.
“They say it makes them want to take the stairs and it makes them happy,” said Zeno, a graduate of Penn Yan Academy who will finish up at Keuka in December.
Rob Spencer, of nutrition services, was among those expressing gratitude to Knapp, Zeno and fellow student Mary Glaccum as they painted.
“I love the ICU one and this one is looking spectacular,” he told them while heading home one evening.
As the group prepared to put the finishing touches on their murals, Newcomb said her students were proud and thrilled with the comments they received.
“Some of the students were able to build on their skills and confidence through the project,” she said. “We are happy we could bring some life to the walls.”