Familiar ‘toon faces Murals for Sick Kids patients

The Toronto Star 
November 25, 2006

Familiar ‘toon faces
Murals for Sick Kids patients
By Brett Clarkson

Thomas the Tank Engine and his trusty friends will be a welcome, comforting sight to the young patients on the seventh floor of the Hospital for Sick Children, thanks to a dozen art students.

The group of students from the Avenue Road Arts School were busy yesterday painting Thomas, Percy, James, and other characters from the long-running children’s series on the windows in one of the hospital’s 20 playrooms.

“(The hospital) wanted to have cartoon characters that the kids were familiar with because there’s so much uncertainty in the hospital setting,” said Lol Rasminksy, founding director of the arts school.

“It’s comforting for (the kids) to have cartoon characters they know around them.”

Last night the students – pre-teens and young teens –spent the second of two Friday drawing and painting classes on the seventh floor under the guidance of teacher Rachel McQuillan.

The students attend classes after their regular schooling. The project also enabled them to gain some of their 40 mandatory high school volunteer hours, McQuillan said.

“It brightens their day, it makes things fun for them, it takes attention off their problems, gives them some distraction,” nurse Sharon Russell said.

Christina Crisostomo and Doris Fulford, both 15, were busy painting James, the red tank engine.

“I think it makes them feel more at home,” Fulford said.