Carle Hospital unveils art created by area students

By Anahita Monga

The Next Generation School in Champaign made a colorful contribution to the white walls at Carle Foundation Hospital on Thursday.

An art exhibit, a student-created compilation of landscape and flower paintings, is the start to a long partnership between the hospital and the private school.

“We were looking for an opportunity to get students to work outside the school and saw that Carle’s mission was really together with what we were looking for,” said Stasia Siena, fine and performing arts coordinator at Next Generation School. “Our interests echoed with theirs and it was all made and ready to happen.”

Officials from Carle Foundation Hospital said they started this partnership because they wanted to do as many things as possible to make the environment more positive at the pediatrics department in the hospital.

“There were white walls and a scary atmosphere and we wanted to make the environment more welcoming,” said Jonathan Woods, pediatrics nurse manager at the hospital.

Woods added that Carle wanted to get something from the Champaign community and the partnership with the Next Generation School was a great collaboration.

“We are working to create a more healing environment for our patients,” he said.

The student artwork will be put on display at the family waiting and activity area in the pediatrics department of the hospital. Students from kindergarten to fourth grade contributed to the exhibit.

Next Generation Middle School sixth graders made a collaborative painting that will be displayed in the respite room in the pediatrics department.

“Our work is based on vacation spots that makes us think of happy times and we wish we were there,” said Vaishali Shenwi, a student at the Next Generation School and contributor to the sixth grade’s collaborative painting.

Siena said Carle Foundation and Next Generation’s partnership will be further strengthened by the future projects they have in mind.

“We have done a lot of research and envision a lot of other projects happening here,” Siena said.

One future project will be getting carpets for the waiting and activity area in the pediatrics department.

“The carpets will enhance the waiting area better,” Siena said.

Another project will provide music therapy by music students for the patients in the pediatrics department. Siena also expressed the desire to get an interactive group at Carle so students can bring and make their art at the hospital.

She added that this will be done through face painting, mask painting stations and theater painting.

The students also said they were enthusiastic about the projects at Carle.

“I think it is a great privilege,” said Ricky Patel, student at the Next Generation School and contributor to the sixth-grade collaborative painting. “We all had our spirit in the paintings and they are terrific.”