Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Heart Ronald McDonald House

Room by Room apprentices set to work in their studio

Uninhibited by the preliminary activities such as priming and power washing that keep murals busy their first few days, Room by Room has already been getting to work. A favorite place for the documentary team to retreat on days with less-than-pleasant weather, Room by Room’s studio at the Essex is always cheery, with upbeat music playing and happily sketching apprentices included. When not in their studio brainstorming, sharing inspiring song lyrics, or learning about stencils and mandalas last week, the apprentices were out on a field trip touring the Ronald McDonald House, the site for their completed artwork.

Ronald McDonald Houses are truly a godsend for hundreds of families whose critically ill children must remain either in or near a hospital for extended periods of time. With a brand new addition to the house recently added, the facility is able to serve more families than ever, and is now the fourth largest Ronald McDonald House in the world. Because of the many services it must provide on a very limited budget, though, Ronald McDonald House is unable to make each room personal in the way they’d like to, so, at the moment, most of the rooms are like hotel rooms: warm and pleasant, but sort of impersonal.

Room by Room is partnering with Ronald McDonald House in order to change that. The plan is to create heart-themed artwork to hang in the different rooms, bringing art and joy into the rooms of the families who are facing such challenging times. The Room by Room apprentices, led by project manager Tina Westerkamp, gathered information and inspiration from their tour of the houses, noting architectural motifs and other such details to incorporate in their work. A place that truly affirms belief in the goodness of humanity, I could see clearly by the earnest concentration of each Room by Room apprentice as they walked through the rooms on their tour that they were going to, just as truly and earnestly, pour their hearts into these hearts.

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