Patients in the echo room at Liberty Regional Medical Center now have something a little more colorful to look at while undergoing echocardiography and stress tests, thanks to members of the Hinesville Area Arts Council’s beginning-adult painting class.
The seven-member class — under the guidance of local artist and HAAC art educator Ashley Kukula Cuevas — brightened up a lead, floating door that provides privacy for patients in LRMC’s echo room.
“Patients can get very anxious in here,” said Carrie Strickland, LRMC’s director of imaging, explaining that the echo room often is full of several doctors, nurses and technicians while patients are undergoing heart tests.
Strickland said that her department had been working on brightening up the drab room when Robin Tiner, an ultrasound technician, offered the idea of turning the floating door into a two-sided mural.
“I’d taken an adult class at the arts council, and I knew Ashley was a really good artist,” Tiner said.
Cuevas said that Tiner approached her with the mural idea and she, in turn, extended the offer to her beginning-adult class as a group project.
“They’ve done group projects before, and they liked the idea,” Cuevas said.
According to Cuevas, the class undertook the project in July and dedicated its monthly meetings to working on the mural. She said class members also worked on the project outside of normal class hours.
Strickland said she was pleasantly surprised by the finished product.
“I thought it was (painted by) her advanced class when I looked at it,” she said. “They did a really good job. All the patients love it and ask who did it.”
“Most of (the contributing artists) are adult beginners — people who pretty much started making art when they took my classes,” Cuevas said. “They generally got into art a little later in life, and it’s really more of a hobby for them.”
Tiner said that she gave Cuevas keywords, such as “EKG machine,” “stethoscope” and “heart monitor,” and left the rest up to the artists.
Cuevas explained that the class split itself into two groups, based on the ideas generated for the two sides of the door. One team was drawn toward the anatomical side while the other team expressed more interest in the health and wellness aspect.
The anatomical side of the door depicts a life-sized silhouette of a human, complete with renderings of the lungs and heart and a functional maze to keep nervous patients busy.
The door’s other side is more of an “inspirational health piece,” according to Cuevas, which is meant to “get people excited about being healthy and being accountable for their health.” The collage shows people running and biking, as well as health and wellness-inspired images and words like “stretch” and “eat well.”
The silhouette includes a mirror in the place where a head would be, which Cuevas said was designed to allow people to see themselves in “this image of a functional body.”
Cuevas, whose husband is stationed at Fort Stewart, said she has been into art her whole life. She holds a bachelor’s in art education and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction of art.
Cuevas will have an exhibit of her art on display at the HAAC throughout the month of January, with an artist’s reception from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8.