The small blond boy looked at the wall and then up at his therapist.
“I like the crab,” he whispered.
Other children weren’t so quiet about it. Their voices rang through the concrete stairwell in the back of the hospital.
“I see a fish!”
“I see a turtle!”
The professional holding the boy’s hand saw the brightly colored wall with different eyes.
“This is a great tool for me,” said Julie Akin, a physical therapist at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center.
The group was reacting to a just-finished mural in the hospital’s Children’s Center, where kids of all ages come for rehabilitation and development services. The painting — the second at the hospital by Vancouver artist Rebecca Anstine — is in a stairwell that’s rarely used to just move from floor to floor. But beautifying the concrete wall was nonetheless a top priority for the center staff.
Anstine painted a mural in January in the entrance area to the Salmon Creek hospital’s children’s emergency department, after her design was chosen among about 15 submitted by local artists. That painting is meant to put children at ease with soothing images during stressful emergency visits.