VA Campus 'Adapts' Pallets Into Public Art Project

Apr 17, 2017

A popular art trend has gained a firm foothold at the Edward Hines Veterans Administration Hospital, with 15 departments taking part in an “adapt a pallet” program.

The results are now strategically placed around the facility’s 147-acre campus.

“A clinical nurse manager actually started the program,” said Phil Chiaramonte, co-chair of the Hines Organizational Health Committee. “She teamed up with patients to paint the first pallet. Then she brought it to the Patient-Centered Care Committee to take it campuswide.”

He said that veterans who are artists – either aside from their military status or as part of the recreational therapy program at the hospital – worked with staff members in the various departments to create the results.

“With the recreational side, it’s very therapeutic to do art,” said Kimberly Scheer, a Patient-Centered Care coordinator at Hines. “It kinda puts us in a different head space so having employees and veterans do that together was just a nice opportunity.”

She explained that, in some cases, veterans’ families were involved; in others it was a group of veterans. Spreading the finished products around the campus, Scheer explained, picked up on the idea that several cities have used in placing decorated animal figures – such as cows, elephants, or huskie dogs -- in their business districts.

“It was kind of that sort of side of thing but we wanted it to be cost-effective,” Scheer said. “We had heard that we had a lot of crates in our warehouse and though, ‘What if we just painted those?’”

She said they hope to leave the finished artworks on display as long as possible.

  • WNIJ's Chase Cavanaugh and Victor Yehling contributed to this story.