akronchildrens.org

A journey of make believe Artist brings imaginary world to Beeghly campus

"When you pretend, things can be any way you want them to be." - Fred Rogers, creator and host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

“When you pretend, things can be any way you want them to be.” – Fred Rogers, creator and host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Did you know that a hospital can be a submarine?

With just a little imagination, a child can dive underwater like a polar bear and resurface at an archeological dig in prehistoric times. Or go dog sledding in Alaska, fly into outer space and land back on Earth, deep in the jungle. Or stop by a carnival, before finally arriving at a doctor’s appointment.

A new mural at the Beeghly campus called, “The Journey,” lets kids’ imaginations run wild, which is just what the artist, Susan Farkas had in mind.

Artist Susan Farkas paints "The Journey," a mural at Akron Children's Beeghly campus in the hallway that connects Building B and D.

Artist Susan Farkas paints “The Journey,” a mural at Akron Children’s Beeghly campus in the hallway that connects Building B and D.

“If you’re a kid in a hospital, you’re probably going to be scared,” said Farkas, an elementary school art teacher for Boardman Local Schools. “Art really makes kids feel more comfortable. This mural is going to excite them and take their minds off some of the problems that they’re going through.”

The mural is located in the hallway that connects Building B and D. It brings vibrant color and whimsical fun to what was once a sea of beige.

“It was one of those hallways that keeps going on and on and on,” said Farkas. “It was so beige and so boring.”

Lisa Taafe, MSN, clinical administrative director for the Mahoning Valley, said that because the Beeghly campus was once an adult facility, the staff has been working to create a more child-friendly atmosphere since it opened in 2008.

“We wanted to make our building as family-centered as possible,” said Taafe. “We wanted to change the feel and the atmosphere to reflect the Akron campus. We want people to walk in and immediately feel comfortable.”

The mural is designed to appeal to children of all ages. Farkas said it took her more than 200 hours to paint. Although the process was lengthy, visitors and staff agree that the end result was well worth the wait.

“Having this opportunity is one of the highlights of my career,” said Farkas. “I’m so proud that I got to do this. I hope this mural stays there for many years to come.”

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