A young girl dressed in vibrant red dances as the wind whips at cloth ribbons she’s holding and those wrapped around nearby tree branches.
“There’s a tradition in China where you tie red ropes or anything red onto a tree with your wishes written on it. Red is a very lucky color in China,” explained Mengyu Yu, a senior at Firestone High School in Akron and the artist behind The Wishing Tree.
Yu’s painting is one of 285 student artworks selected from schools around northeast Ohio to be displayed in Akron Children’s Kay Jewelers Pavilion, which opens May 5. Her art will hang in the middle corridor of the sixth floor.
Akron Children’s art consultant, Ron Beahn, coordinated with more than 60 elementary, middle and high schools to collect student artwork to grace the walls of exam rooms, waiting areas, hallways and other parts of the hospital.
“Art is part of Akron Children’s culture,” said Beahn, who has worked with the hospital since 2006. “Artwork taps into so many different emotions, especially for children. It can capture everything from the joys of childhood to a sense of calm and peace.”
Giving local artists – especially youngsters – a chance to display their works has long been a theme of Akron Children’s interior design. So it isn’t surprising that student artwork became a key feature to the overall interior décor of our new Kay Jewelers Pavilion.
Beahn began selecting and purchasing the artwork at the end of the 2014 school year. Those students whose work was selected received a $25 gift certificate for elementary to middle-school-aged children and $50 for high schoolers.
Each work of art was then professionally framed in preparation for being installed in the new building.
Firestone High School art teacher, Patrick Dougherty, expressed appreciation for the chance for student work to receive recognition.
“It’s always gratifying for students to have their work purchased and then displayed so that others can enjoy it,” said Doughtery. “But it’s also important to them that it will be in a place where kids are convalescing.”
“I just hope when children look at it they can gain some hope and get better,” said Yu, who’s planning on touring the hospital when it opens to see her work along with all the other paintings on display from other students.
As part of our year-long anniversary celebration, we’re telling the story of Akron Children’s through the eyes of past and present employees, doctors, donors, volunteers and patient families. We encourage you to share your own memories and stories about us.