Hasbro Children’s Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island, commissions artists to create murals on Vycom’s Celtec® as an efficient and economical alternative to painting directly on walls. The hospital uses a number of colorful murals to make its young patients feel more at ease in what can be stressful settings such as the phlebotomy lab, emergency department, oncology, and imaging center.
“We were first introduced to the material by muralists who asked to use it for commissioned work because they liked painting on Celtec’s surface,” says Hasbro Children’s Hospital Art Director Paula Most. “The advantages were quickly clear. The work was done off-site so there was no disruption to the hospital’s schedule or staffing, the artist delivered the lightweight, finished piece and the mural was easily installed by our facilities staff.”
As hospitals often undergo renovations or transfer functions to different rooms, the ability to move murals painted on Celtec is also a benefit. When Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s oncology clinic relocated, for example, the artwork created for the space moved with it. The hospital is currently renovating the emergency department and its mural was taken down prior to construction.
“It’s safely waiting to be hung up somewhere,” explains Most. “With painting done directly on the wall, once it’s done you’re married to it. With the Celtec material, we can store or move the artwork to another space if necessary. You don’t lose the art or the investment.”
Among the earliest projects Most recalls were with students at Rhode Island School of Design. Artists cut out the portion of the mural the students completed during the school year and installed them in the hospital. They then painted vignettes directly on the wall to form a finished mural.
More recently, Gayle Mangan Kassal used Celtec for a commissioned piece in the pediatric imaging center. It was the first time she’d heard of the material.
“It was a unique request at the time that I use Celtec rather than paint on canvas or directly on the wall,” says Mangan Kassal. “It was so easy to use and the paint doesn’t chip or peel off. I now do most of my mural projects on Celtec.”
The mural in the pediatric imaging center features whimsical underwater creatures holding cameras, and is 12 feet long and approximately four feet wide at its widest area. Mangan Kassal lightly sanded the 1/2-inch Celtec, supplied by Piedmont Plastics, before applying an acrylic primer and acrylic water-based paint. To add whimsy and give the hospital options for using it in a variety of spaces, she cut it into two pieces.
“Celtec gave me some creative license, combining elements of paint and sculpture,” she says. “It’s nice to have curves in an X-ray room where everything is so sterile and straight.” Mangan Kassal finished the work with a UV-blocking polyurethane to make it easy for the hospital to keep clean. The mural is approximately six-feet high on the wall, so it can be seen by the children while X-rays are being taken.
“These murals have been valuable tools for parents and staff to use to reduce stress and anxiety by getting the child engaged in something other than the medical issue,” says Most. “We’re very happy with how economically and efficiently they can be created on the Celtec, and that they can be part of the hospital as it continues to change and innovate.”