Healing Garden Mural Completion Celebrated at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest
Stunning 2,000 square feet of artwork offers peace, solitude
By Joe Nixon
September 23, 2021
Thunderstorms lit up the sky and dropped torrential rain the evening before the healing garden mural was set to be officially presented outside Kasych Family Pavilion at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest.
By morning, calm had returned.
It was as though Mother Nature also knew the purpose for this place – a space for patients, families, visitors and staff to collect their thoughts, find peace and solitude and be comforted by life-like scenes of nature.
“This is extraordinary. It’s truly transformative and inspirational,” said John Pierro, executive vice president and chief operating officer, LVHN, on Thursday (Sept. 9) at the program to recognize the mural’s completion.
Pierro said the project was an amazing accomplishment, a tranquil and peaceful setting that will benefit everyone who views it. “It touched me, and I know it has touched those who are here,” he said.
The mural was painted on an existing 11-foot-high by 183-foot-long wall, creating more than 2,000 square feet of art.
“Our dream is now a reality. It brings to all our patients, our (burn) survivors, families and our staff members, a beautiful place to nurse their souls. It says your community loves you and supports you and that’s the most beautiful gift.” – Jill Krystofinski, CRNA, with Lehigh Valley Anesthesia Services.
Through the artists’ eyes
For Kim Hogan, Jennette Leggett, Janet Hodick and Virginia Abbott of Freehand Murals, the project at LVH–Cedar Crest was like no other they had worked on.
Seven years ago, they painted a mural on the walls and ceiling of a burn unit operating room at LVH–Cedar Crest. The healing garden mural brought that same concept outside.
“Work like this is more than a mere art project,” said Leggett. “We all wanted it to become a place for healing and reflection, a sacred space for burn survivors and all patients, visitors and staff to be able to refill their well.”
The artists welcomed feedback as they worked over several months to complete the mural. “Never before have we been part of such a collective, creative project. This is surely an extraordinary mural because of this collective input,” said Leggett.
For Leggett and the other Freehand Murals artists, art has profound healing capabilities and it was their mission to create an environment that could take some of the focus off patients’ situations and ease their mind by surrounding them with a captivating painted meadow teeming with wildlife.
Committed nurse anesthetist, burn survivors behind the project
One of the driving forces behind both the operating room and healing garden murals is Jill Krystofinski, CRNA, with Lehigh Valley Anesthesia Services. The idea for the healing garden mural was backed by several burn survivors.
One of those survivors, Leo Woelkers of Moscow, Lackawanna County, spoke Monday on behalf of himself and other mural proponents.
“We hope burn patients, indeed all patients here at Cedar Crest, along with staff and visitors, find peace and hope and solitude in this place,” said Woelkers. “After surgeries and procedures, it is a wonderful place to go to just take things in and take your mind off your injuries or condition.”
Added Krystofinski, “Our dream is now a reality. It brings to all our patients, our (burn) survivors, families and our staff members, a beautiful place to nurse their souls. It says your community loves you and supports you and that’s the most beautiful gift.”