2 busy weekends (25 or so hours) later, a bathroom mural was completed in a cute little Petaluma home. The inspiration was taken from a New York Times Magazine cover: an illustrated old ship out to sea. I’m grateful for my friends who commissioned me for this dream of theirs and I’m glad I could help it fully come to fruition.
The volunteer mural project is now over. 7 straight days, 43(ish) hours (plus 10 or so for design sketches and revisions), of working on the 22’ x 10’ wall was both physically and mentally challenging. I was completely absorbed by this project and time became more abstract than normal. By 6:15PM on 2/15/19 (the last day), part of me knew I needed to do more – maybe one more bubble or bright piece of coral. It’s such an interesting experience creating a giant piece of art that I can’t just casually keep working on at my own pace. There was a timeline, a goal to have it complete, so the space could be used again for the families who frequent the waiting room. It was art that wasn’t created for me, but for other people to enjoy and to interact with.
It was great to see and hear reactions from the staff at the clinic; I received very encouraging and kind words daily. I truly feel like I made a difference in this community. I wish I could be a fly on the wall to see and hear the clients/patients’ reactions to it. My hopes are that it enhances their experience while at the clinic, yet, I’ll never truly be able to measure any sort of impact. I guess that is the nature with public art.
Check out my instagram for in-progress shorts: @renae.patrice
The overall goal of this mural was to promote literacy and brighten up a space in a local health clinic. I first found out about it through a professor and advisor at San José State. Fortunately, I had the time and energy to contact the coordinator and commit to taking on this endeavor.
This particular clinic off Bascom Ave. in San José serves low-income families and partners with a bilingual team from Stanford to promote literacy and school readiness. A study is being conducted with some patients in which participants are receiving interactive texting strategies they can use to help their young children learn to read.
Stanford has initiated a few other mural project interventions at “safety net” clinics in which they revitalize the waiting rooms to bring a message of hope rather than despair. The vulnerable population that typically utilizes these types of local Silicon Valley clinics are often struggling with poverty and other disadvantages. Bright, colorful, inspiring murals bring a minute change that is needed in the usually sterile, white wall spaces. They promote interaction between children and their parents and encourage speaking, reading, and counting, among other things.
Unfortunately, many low-income health clinics’ walls and floors are often barren. Through this artistic and community-driven effort, these places can transform into a safe, inclusive, and educational space, healthy for families and the health workers who serve them daily.
Other mural work going on through Stanford’s affiliate clinics: