Art Happens - SCCA Wall 1What happens when you give a group of kids markers and crayons, show them a blank wall and turn their imaginations loose? Something beautiful!

Patients in the Seattle Children’s cancer unit and their siblings have turned a temporary construction wall into a dazzling and inspirational mural. Chelsea Olson, a nurse in the unit, came up with the idea. Austin Schlichtman, a child life specialist, supplied the crayons and markers. Once the kids got the OK, they covered nearly the entire wall in less than eight hours. “The doctors and nurses were really happy to see their patients out of their beds and being active,” Schlichtman says.

Art Happens - SCCA Wall 2The images and messages are as different as the individual artists, but many celebrate the outdoors – not surprising since cancer patients spend many days in the hospital. “Even though there isn’t much space left on the wall, I still see kids adding to it,” Schlichtman says. “We plan to take a picture of the wall before it’s removed and hope to hang it somewhere in the new unit when we move to Building Hope.”