Montreal Area Decorative Painters 
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The picture below shows  a 26 ft. x 8 ft. wall mural titled "Once Upon A Time..."  "Il était une fois..."  in the outpatients' wing of the Montreal Children's Hospital painted in 1994 by members of the The Montreal Area Decorative Painters Guild (MADP).  The idea sprang from a meeting in April 1993 out of suggestions for our 1994 activities.  The suggestion was made to paint a wall in a local children's hospital, a place which at times can be stressful and frightening to children.  At the same time we would be giving something back to a place that treats and heals our children in so many ways.  Often the waiting for appointments can be long and tiring.  Linda Robin, who initiated the idea, was appointed Project Co-ordinator, and the research, contacts, design, and approval of the design and location were begun.

The design committee began meeting regularly and chose an interactive theme with a woodland background and fantasy, fairyland, whimsical characters. The design flows from left to right, from morning to evening, with many animals, insects, and birds, and other characters and activities. A huge maple tree camouflages the hospital volunteers' cloakroom door, and divides the daytime/night-time fun.

Everything was included - an apple schoolhouse, air balloons, waterfalls, hockey ice, ants picnicking, rock "stars" strumming guitars, dragons (one dragon creating a mountain to the right of the tree), an opera cat, an apple computer tree, bunnies, birds, bear cyclists, insect dentist and optometrist -- all entertain and brighten the waiting room wall.


On two pillars in front of the mural are legends telling children and parents what to look for, encouraging them to search and observe. Sort of a "Where's Waldo?" type activity.


Hospital personnel went out of their way to make everything run smoothly and were extremely patient and helpful over the six-week painting period.  Mary Ann Ferguson (Chairman of the MCH Task Force on paediatric Design) welcomed the idea of the mural.  At the unveiling on June 1st, she summed up the spirit behind the project:  "Art is an essential element in a healing, supportive environment, whether it is used to express the experience of a hospitalized child or to enhance a patient's time here through distraction, amusement and fantasy.  We are delighted that a group like the M.A.D.P. Guild is devoting so much time, talent and energy to our children and their environment."

Twenty-nine members of the Guild spent many hours over a six week period putting in about 700 hours to complete the wall mural.  Each day one of the design committee members supervised and guided the artists as well as the painting, to ensure that the work stayed within the concept and, at the end of the day, left notes for the next team of painters.  The Guild had never tackled a project of this size before but the end results were even better than anticipated.  We learned a lot and it was a really rewarding experience.  It is an amazing and delightful wall.


For more pics of the Interactive Wall project, please click here.

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Link to the Montreal Children's Hospital

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