The Pediatric Center at Orange Regional Medical Center is improving and expanding to become a leader in pediatric care in the Hudson Valley including redesign of its facilities.
Sarah Johnson, Art Curator for Orange Regional Medical Center is making an effort to keep ORMC in the forefront of what a hospital is supposed to be, a place where healing occurs. To this end she is incorporating "visual healing" into the hospital environment. Art is used to engage mental activity and promote a positive perception of place.
Sarah contacted artist/illustrator Steven James Petruccio about creating some art for the new entrance. After an initial conversation and meeting, during which many ideas were discussed, the decision was made to proceed with a showpiece work of art for the Pediatric Center. A mural would be painted by the artist to create a calm and peaceful "first impression" of the hospital for children and their families.
"Decoration and design in pediatric units should relate to patients' developmental states, cognitive skills and perception of reality rather than relying on cuteness and whimsy."
-Journal: Hospitas Vol.54, Issue 8 - Center for Health Design
It was determined, after some research, that a nature themed mural would bring the outdoors in and set a peaceful tone for the entrance. Steven set to work making sketches of woodland scenes. He is widely known for his natural science illustrations which have appeared in many books including ten books in the Smithsonian Oceanic Collection. These books require many weeks of research and the same attention was given to the mural. Flora and fauna native to the Hudson Valley were compiled as the artist developed his preliminary sketches. While working on the visual for the expansive thirty foot mural, Steven began placing animals in their natural surroundings and noticed that many of them were also used in many of Aesop's fables. After consulting with Sarah, the illustrator side of the artist took over and vignettes were drawn to relate many familiar tales. The initial sketch shows the first image created for the ORMC mural.