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Painting for patients

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Rachel Costello, 15, a sophomore at Skyline High School in Front Royal, helps paint this mural on the third floor of Warren Memorial Hospital. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Skyline High Schools students in Front Royal paint this mural on the third floor of Warren Memorial Hospital on Thursday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Skyline High School art students paint outdoor park scene in hospital lobby

By Kaitlin Mayhew -- kmayhew@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Amanda Whistell says she has been interested in art "ever since I was little."

Whistell, an art student at Skyline High School in Warren County, is one of about 10 students who helped paint a mural scene at Warren Memorial Hospital.

The large-scale image that spans the lobby area of the hospital's third floor displays a park scene with a giant tree in the center.

Jennifer Walker, an art teacher at Skyline High School who is heading up the mural project, said the tree and park theme was chosen by hospital officials to meld with the symbol for a nonprofit organization that operates within the hospital.

Planetree is an organization that promotes patient-centered care and healing environments by implementing innovative models of health care, according to its website.

It was sarted by Angelica Thieriot, whose own experience of being treated "without regard as an individual" led her to "envision a different type of hospital where patients could receive care in a truly healing environment."

Planetree is now present in healthcare settings throughought the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Warren Memorial Hospital is one of four Virginia hospitals that are members.

Walker, as well as about 10 of her art students, worked on the mural over the course of one week in late September.

The base paint on the walls for the grass and sky were added first in latex-based house paint.

The design for the rest of the scene was painted on a small scale in watercolor by Walker, and then outlined on the walls with an overhead projector.

The students then helped to fill in the first layers of color within the images, and then additional layers of highlights and shadows, using acrylic paints.

Skyline High School sophomore Rachel Costello, 15, said she is excited because the mural gives her a chance to get her work out in the public eye.

"It's really neat that everyone is going to see our artwork now," she said.

Whistell, also a sophomore, added that she thought participation in the project would be a good addition to her college application.

She said she plans to continue her interest in art, and hopes to one day attend the Art Institute of Washington and major in graphic design.

"Everyone I know who went there always says good things about it," she said.

Whistell recently won an art contest for Teen Violence Awareness that gave her the opportunity to see her winning piece printed on posters all over the school, but she said she's never done anything like the mural before.

Participants in the project were from all levels of Walker's art classes, which range from Art I to Art IV, and include various craft and photography courses as well.

"It was open to anyone who wanted to volunteer," Walker said.

This is the first time the Skyline High School art program has done a mural in the community, and although Walker said she hasn't ever done anything to seek out the projects, she would definitely be interested in more of them in the future.

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