The KBRH Gratitude Mural by Tyler Toews was unveiled at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital on June 9. L-R: Kala Draney, third year med student, Dr. Scot Mountain, Diane Shendruk from IH, Dr. Carolyn Stark, Dr. Sue Benzer, Dr. Kristen Edge, James Brotherhood, Dr. Dennis Small, and Dr. Sue Babensee. Photo: Submitted

Kootenay Boundary doctors offer a healthy dose of goodness with Gratitude Mural

Its red ribbon is in the shape of a heart rising above a Kootenay Boundary mountain scene

Sometimes a beautiful work of art is the best medicine.

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) unveiled its new and impressive Gratitude Mural on June 9.

The stunning 70-by 55-foot creation was made possible by the project team of Kootenay Boundary Physician’s Association (KBPA), physicians, Interior Health (IH) staff and Kootenay artist Tyler Toews of Canadian Murals.

Inspired by the Gratitude Garden, Dr. Sue Benzer brought the idea of a smaller mural to Dr. Sue Babensee, who soon expanded on the idea and became Physician Lead for the project.

“The mural is beautiful,” Babensee said in a release. “It’s visible to all practitioners, staff and the community as they come to the hospital from the parking lot.

“After a very challenging year, we hope the mural helps brighten everyone’s day, whether they’re coming for care, to visit a loved one, or coming to work.”

The colourful mural, with its red ribbon in the shape of a heart rising above a Kootenay Boundary mountain scene, was completed by Toews on May 28.

It starts on the west wall of the hospital and extends up the north wall of the back entry, where all staff have entered since the start of the COVID pandemic.

“This is one of my more impactful pieces,” said Toews. “The KBRH GratitudeMural is a colourful, anamorphic design that will create an optical illusion as it interacts with the architecture of the building.

“Featuring a large red ribbon that forms a heart of gratitude, the completed painting will transcend the boundaries of spatial design and perception,” added Toews.

Toews’ murals can be seen at several locations in the Kootenays including the Trail Memorial Centre, Trail Times building, the Rossland Cenotaph, and Nelson City Hall.

The unveiling ceremony also welcomed special guest, Diane Shendruk, IH executive director, clinical operations, acute and community, Kootenay Boundary.

“This mural is a powerful visual that communicates a message of unity and support,” said Shendruk. “As the main entrance now for staff and physicians, people can raise their heads and experience a little of joy and happiness at the start of their workday, each and every day.”

For Babensee the collaboration has been a rewarding journey over a very challenging year.

“Everyone got behind the project to make it happen, Interior Health, hospital administration, the staff and the physicians,” she said. “It was an outstanding collaboration, and just shows what can be achieved when we work together.

“Wellness is such an important part of health, and while much of our project work at the Kootenay Boundary Physician’s Association is more directly focused on improving the quality of care we provide, this project will give everyone a little boost in wellness as they come into the hospital.”

The physicians’ association thanks the KBPA design team; Dr. Babensee, Dr. Benzer, Dr. Carolyn Stark, Dr. Pete Krampl and the IH team; Ruth Kohut (KBRH director, clinical operations), Jay Armstrong, Luc Senechal and many KBRH department heads for their help in bringing #KBRHGratitudeMural into being.

Read more: Greater Trail doctors commission massive ‘Gratitude Mural’

Read more: Work begins on next phase of KBRH redevelopment

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