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Thank God for the Pediatric ER

I’m writing this after coming home from two days in two different hospitals. Let’s be clear about one thing: I do not like hospitals. I’m not sure whether it’s the feeling of being surrounded by sickness or an unearthly atmosphere of frenetic sterility, but I do not like hospitals.

With me I had my school bag and five large art books, the contents of which vary in style, genre, technique and time period. I had spent a lot of time going through these books looking for images for an assignment in my dramaturgy class. In the ER, however, the walls were covered with children’s art; this meaning both art intended for consumption by children as well as art made by kids themselves.

While the art on the hospital walls didn’t prove useful for my image work around Curt Columbus’ play Dreams of Antigone, I found myself equally engaged with the art at the hospital, and quite frankly, calmed by it. So often in class we question what purpose art serves. “What’s the goal of this piece?” we might ask. Meanwhile, over the course of the past two days, I have endeavored on that very process. I entered a hospital, an anxiety inducing place for me, engaged with the art there and was soothed by it.


Granted, seeing/hearing Pixar’s Monster’s Inc. and all it’s special feature four times through while I continually bled and watched the number of sick or injured patients around me enter, and wait, and wait, and wait, and leave made me feel like I was in some convoluted version of Waiting for Godot, but I must acknowledge the children’s art really helped me get through it.

Thank god I’m only 21. When I turn 22 in just 10 days… well, let’s just say I don’t know if they have children’s art in the non-pediatric section of the hospital. If I ever do encounter that I wonder if I’ll be wishing for Mike and Sully.

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