Hospital unveils murals painted by caregivers

Eugene | August 28, 2019
Lola Buckwald makes heart-hands next to her hand-themed mural
Two PeaceHealth caregivers paint healing themes on the walls of a unit for behavioral health patients

When new federal regulations were put into place for inpatient mental health facilities across the country, PeaceHealth’s behavioral health unit at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District, took all the steps necessary to promote an environment of safety for patients. Among the requirements was the removal of hanging artwork on the unit.

Art is often used as a form of therapy for patients and the caregivers on the unit wanted to keep artwork front and center. So, they got creative…literally. A call for mural artists went out throughout the department and staff voted on their favorites. The two chosen artists were thrilled to get to share their talent.

Molly Elliott, a mental health technician on the inpatient unit, says her art tends to focus on the sense of calm that nature can provide. Molly has been with PeaceHealth for more than 12 years and recalled her work on a previous unit of Spencer's Butte, a favorite area landmark. That piece isn't there any more, but Molly says the "patients really loved it."Molly Elliott with wall mural of lake and blue heron

As part of this project, Molly returned to painting a local scene — this time an iconic blue heron in the water, and another smaller, very local subject…a Fender’s Blue butterfly. The endangered insect was once thought to be extinct for almost 60 years. Now, the tiny insects live in only one place in the world — in the Willamette Valley.

Fender's Blue butterfly“They’re just about an inch across, but they’re really quite beautiful,” says Molly.

For Lola Buckwald, a patient access representative for PeaceHealth Medical Group’s UCARE clinic, painting her mural was one of several creative opportunities she’s had at PeaceHealth over the last three years.

“I have two ‘hand paintings’ at University District, “she says. “The newest one on the inpatient unit is about a life moment. That sunset is in your hands — right here, right now.”

The other mural graces the wall in the UCARE clinic in Suite 450. Of the hummingbird, Lola says, “My hope is to remind you to be caring and gentle to everyone and everything. “

In addition to creating her own art, Lola is passionate about bringing that joy to others in the community. In addition to volunteering as an art teacher for local veterans, Lola worked closely with Lisa Vitti, behavioral health clinician, to advocate for a patient art gallery in their office suite.wall mural of hand with a bird in flight

“We are very proud of this and the patients’ response and pride has been beyond words.”