Turning blank spaces into healing places

New “Healing Wall” project provides distraction for patients

One of the new healing murals being installed in C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

One of the new “healing murals” being installed in C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

A visit to the hospital is hardly on the list of fun things to do — especially if you’re a kid. Many parents – myself included – have noticed a lack of distractions available for the children who were waiting to see a doctor or have a procedure. I’m sure I am not the first person to have wondered — wouldn’t it be nice to use some of the big, open walls in the new hospital to create something that would be visually interesting for all visitors and something what would engage the children while they wait?

I took my idea to the Mott Patient and Family Centered Care advisory group where the idea was refined with the input of the Mott families and staff. Together, we decided that a mural was a great way to make use of wall space that was currently blank. We discovered an amazing Michigan-based artist, Tracy Leigh Fisher, who had created murals in other hospitals as well as individual homes.

The first mural features an outdoor setting with tree houses and was recently installed in the Blood Draw Unit. The mural was created by Tracy to be attractive to all who visit the Unit, but also interactive for parents and children. In addition to the potpourri of little woodland creatures for children to discover, there are 10 words hidden in the mural. Finding the words is great fun for older children — and parents! If you find yourself in the Blood Draw Unit, see how many of these 10 hidden words you can find: play, imagine, find, seek, love, joy, friends, look, wonder and dream.

imageThe response to our first mural has been amazing. We now have many other units requesting murals. We’re in the planning process of creating murals for four other areas — Radiology, Emergency Department, Food and Allergy Center, and the Perioperative Unit. We held a fundraising luncheon in May to jump-start our fundraising campaign and are accepting donations for the Healing Wall Project initiative online.

We’re grateful for the time and effort of everyone who made the first Healing Wall a reality. Alro Steel graciously donated the aluminum on which the mural was painted and many others donated their time and money. The Healing Wall Project is an exciting opportunity. It’s something that patients, families, caregivers and administrators are all on the same page about. It’s wonderful to see so many people working together to create an environment that allows kids to have a better experience while they go through a tough time.

Take the next step:

  • Check out the first Healing Wall during your next trip to our blood draw unit on Level 2 at Mott.
  • Help us add more Healing Walls to Mott by making a gift online.
  • Connect with our team to learn other ways you or your group can help support the Healing Wall projects.


anna mignery familyAnna Mignery lives in Ann Arbor with her husband, Andy — a former U-M football player — and her children, Devin, Madeline and Wesley.




best children's hospitalUniversity of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.