The following article was published in the January 10, 2013 edition of the San Jose Mercury News.
Changing Valley Medical Center’s pediatric exam rooms from dull, blank white walls into fantasy murals has won the Almaden Valley Kiwanis Club a commendation from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
The commendation presentation, which is planned for Jan. 15, acknowledges the club members and volunteers who by the completion date of Jan. 12, will have transformed 47 pediatric exam rooms at VMC into fanciful environments for children.
“It’s a good mood enhancer,” says Laura Cutler Kazanovicz, program manager for the VMC Foundation. “The walls are distracting and not so scary for patients. It’s changed the atmosphere.”
VMC has specialized staff and facilities allowing the doctors to treat rare illnesses as well as a wide variety of children’s health problems.
Club members, along with area artists, community volunteers, hundreds of high school Key Club members and 30 Circle K college students began the seven-month job last April. The idea behind the project was to take the plain white walls and make them bright and pretty, allowing children to feel more comfortable visiting the doctor.
High school volunteers came from a number of local schools including Pioneer, Leland, Silver Creek, Yerba Buena, Milpitas and Sobrato. These students did most of the artwork, creating the designs. Some of the murals were images manipulated from websites, while the artists imagined the others.
The idea began when Sarah Gianocaro, vice president of the Almaden Valley club, took her daughter for a doctor’s appointment and noticed the cute murals in the exam rooms. She t decided to create something similar for a nonprofit hospital.
“I inquired on a website, and it turned out the CEO of Valley Med had toured the pediatric clinic and wanted to see it beautified. So I began working with the VMC Foundation in November,” Gianocaro said in an interview.
Gianocaro and other volunteers received almost $1,000 in donations from six hardware stores and four paint stores for materials. Three local restaurants and two grocery stores provided food for the artists and volunteers. Almaden Valley Kiwanis donated an addition $714.48. Other and diverse volunteers came from Facebook, Twitter, Kiwanis communication emails and meetings and articles in community newspapers.
Each of the six weekend projects required a significant amount of work. First, the team submitted artwork for review and approval. About midweek, the club organized materials and paint. On Friday room preparation began and included removing wall items, placing drop cloths and taping while artists sketched their murals on the walls.
On Saturday, volunteers began painting, with artists overseeing the
work. And on Sunday volunteers applied polyurethane finish to preserve the artwork and allow easy wall cleaning. The final Sunday projects included paint cleanup, tape removal and putting the equipment back on exam room walls. In all, six weekends were required to complete the 47 rooms.
The board of supervisors will present the commendation shortly after its meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the county government building, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose, 95110, in the board chambers.