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Proposed children’s expansion mural a 'mosaic of masterpieces'

Published on Sunday, December 1, 2019

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

Thousands of Children’s Hospital supporters can help create a digital mosaic that will be a focal point in the Children’s of Mississippi expansion now under construction.

The mural, which will depict the natural and architectural beauty of Mississippi, will be made up of about 8,000 individual drawings by children, parents, caregivers and supporters. Through the nonprofit Project S.N.A.P. (Share, Nurture, Act, Preserve), Children’s of Mississippi is collecting artwork now, and participation is free.

“Beloved landmarks, such as the Mississippi River, the piney woods and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as buildings, including the state Capitol, will be formed by thousands of individual drawings from all over Mississippi,” said Jen Hospodor, director of community partnerships at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Ryan Mains, a UMMC development liaison, is among those reaching out to the community through drawing sessions with schools and groups.

“Project S.N.A.P. is a way for people around the state to have a connection to our new children’s hospital expansion,” Mains said. “It gives them a way to tell their own personal stories through art, to honor a caregiver or a loved one.”

The mosaic will include a kiosk where visitors can type in their names to find their pieces of the mural.

Drawings range from pastel to vivid. Mains said some convey messages.

“The words ‘hope’ and ‘love’ are often in the artwork, and we often see drawings of happy families and the Children’s of Mississippi logo of a rainbow, kite and sun.”

Katie Puckett of Pearl, whose children, Caroline and Luke, are both Children’s of Mississippi patients, created a drawing of rainbow-colored flowers for Project S.N.A.P. earlier this year.

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“It was based on the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi’s slogan, ‘Growing. So they can grow,’” Puckett said. “That slogan has always been really special to me because this hospital is truly where my kids have grown up. It is because of Children’s of Mississippi that my children were given a chance to grow up.”

Caroline was born with a severe congenital heart defect that required three open-heart surgeries between birth and age 3. Luke was born with spina bifida, a condition where the spinal column does not close completely.

Luke had surgery at Children’s of Mississippi to close his spine when he was a day old and spent close to a month in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit before being discharged. Both children continue to see Children’s of Mississippi specialists for outpatient care.

“I don’t think people realize the impact that Children’s of Mississippi makes statewide,” Puckett said. “Just for my family alone, they have changed our world.”

The $180 million Children’s of Mississippi expansion is on schedule to open in fall 2020. Included in the seven-story tower will be a larger lobby and two floors of private neonatal intensive care rooms where families can stay with their babies and be part of their care.

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A dozen state-of-the-art operating suites, a new home for the Children’s Heart Center and more space devoted to pediatric intensive care are also part of the new building’s plans.

The expansion will be home to another first for the state: an imaging center designed for children. A pediatric outpatient clinic with a 517-space parking garage nearby will allow for collaborative care among pediatric specialists and subspecialists.

“Children’s of Mississippi serves all of the state, and this is the state’s only children’s hospital,” Hospodor said. “What better way to reflect that than to showcase Mississippi’s beauty in a mosaic of individual drawings as a signature mural for our expansion?”

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Schools and groups can book drawing sessions for Project S.N.A.P. with Mains by emailing rmains@umc.edu.

Children’s of Mississippi is accepting artwork online at projectsnap/childrensms. The website includes space for personal stories to accompany uploaded art.

Artwork can be dedicated as a memorial or to honor a caregiver or loved one through a $500 contribution to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, the drive to bring the Children’s Hospital expansion to completion. Launched in 2016, the campaign has raised more than 76 percent of its $100 million goal.

For more information about Children’s of Mississippi’s expansion, visit growchildrens.org.


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