Our Garden of Hope and Healing became an even more magical place May 31, thanks to a year’s worth of artistic creation by the 32 middle schoolers at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts.
The project was the brainchild of garden co-chairs Marianne Sanders and Joyce Hamaker, who were looking to add some interesting sights and sounds to the garden on the front lawn of the hospital campus to help distract from the bustle of Exchange Street.
The ladies looked to Sanders’ niece, Malia Tshantz, for input. An art teacher at Miller South, Tschantz embraced the idea at once, explaining that this type of project instills pride in the community and empathy with peers who suffer from chronic illnesses.
On the first day of school last fall, Tshantz gave her students a brochure about the garden and they spent the next nine months creating wind chimes during art class.
“Several of the kids in Malia’s art class also take orchestra,” said Sanders. “So a group of kids got very interested in scrap metal and the different sounds they could create. The metal was donated by several hospital vendors and the kids really got into salvaging them.”
Some of the creations add a little glitter and sparkle to the garden. The students took old CDs, melted them in the microwave and molded them into designs. They pick up the light beautifully and add a little eye candy to the trees that shade the garden.
Several of the chimes are made from clay and are more fragile with delicate details. These will be put on display in Akron Children’s Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center’s clinical area for patients and staff to enjoy.
Many of the students gathered for the installation of the chimes. They were greeted by Hamaker, hospital CEO Bill Considine and Dr. Sarah Friebert, director of the pediatric palliative care center.
After the ceremony, the students were treated to cookies, punch and a tour of Air Bear, the only pediatric dedicated transport helicopter in the state.