Some of metro Atlanta’s top street mural artists recently painted casts and prosthetic legs for young patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Scottish Rite hospital in quiet, behind-the-scenes service that CHOA hopes to continue with other artists.
The artists involved in the April 2 service at the Sandy Springs hospital included Yoyo Ferro, whose murals include work at Brookhaven’s Cross Keys High School; Julio Ceballos, whose work appears on the Atlanta BeltLine; and Rory Hawkins, who works under the name Catlanta after cat images he hides around town for art-lovers to find.
The patients included Clayton Page, 11, and Nathan Manuel, 9, who were starting Spring Break with arm fractures, and Kennedy Simpson, 12, who uses prosthetic shins and has a love for art and drawing. They wore blindfolds as the artists worked so they would be surprised by the final result.
Ceballos painted a variety of sunflowers Simpson’s shins, while Ferro created a miniature baseball mural on Page’s cast and Hawkins personalized Manuel’s cast with an illustration inspired by the toy and comic series “Beyblade.”
Kareem Manuel, Nathan’s father, said in a CHOA press release that the art made a big difference to his son’s recovery.
“Normally waking him up is such a drag, but he got up so fast on his first day back to school because he couldn’t wait to show off his cast,” said Kareem Manuel. “Rory crushed it.”
The artists say it was a rewarding experience for them as well.
“I have never painted a cast, so I was a bit nervous going in, and even more nervous when I found out Nathan wanted a character from a show I had never heard of,” Hawkins said in an email, “but he was super patient while I figured it out and seemed pretty happy with the end result. It was a great experience getting to work with Nathan and the other children there and see the joy these new artworks brought to them.”
Ferro emphasized that the artists weren’t seeking publicity, but rather taking an opportunity to donate to a worthy effort behind the scenes.
“I got involved because it’s a great idea by [CHOA] and it’s a small gesture for me but that I know might make a big impact on a kid going through a difficult time,” he said in an email.
“I didn’t know what challenges these kids were facing, but I felt that whatever it was I wanted to learn from them and bring them some joy,” said Ceballos in the CHOA press release. “Opportunities like this are up my alley because they’re very fulfilling and I find that just as valuable as a paycheck.”