Mural transforms Obici wall

Published 8:45 pm Saturday, February 18, 2017

A new mural materializing on the walls of a well-traveled hallway at Sentara Obici Hospital is being created by a 17-year-old.

Cassie King, a senior at Hampton Roads Academy who lives in Suffolk, had to create a senior project as part of her schoolwork.

“I wanted to knock something off my bucket list, which was painting a wall mural,” she said.

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Her father, Dr. Brian King, is a surgeon at Obici, and he asked permission from the hospital for his daughter to do a mural there.

When Cassie met with hospital officials, they liked a drawing she had done of a pair of hands turning into a butterfly. So she’s recreating the drawing larger than life on a wall of the hospital. The final product will be surrounded by painted flowers.

“I really liked the idea of doing something floral and colorful,” Cassie said. “I’m really excited to throw more colors on here.”

Cassie has become somewhat of a mystical figure around the hospital, with doctors, nurses and even patients stopping to talk to her when they finally see the person behind the work they have been watching in various stages of transformation. The mural is located at the intersection of the emergency department and radiology, making it a well-traveled hallway.

As part of her project, Cassie has been researching the psychological process of how colors affect human emotions, she said.

She has learned to stay away from grays and blacks. Blues and greens — prominent colors in the mural’s grass and sky — are pacifying colors, she said. Warm colors like red and orange get blood flowing, and pink is soothing and motherly. Those colors will be heavily featured in the flowers surrounding the hands.

Cassie has been working on the mural since August, when she came in and primed the wall. She’s been documenting her progress along the way to submit as part of her senior project.

While Cassie has been working diligently on the mural, she is also involved in a number of other activities at school. She’s currently rehearsing for “The Fiddler on the Roof,” which the school’s drama department plans to put on the first two weekends in March.

She’s also the president of the National Art Honor Society at HRA.

Judging from her research into the mural, and its location, it’s not surprising that she is considering a double major in art and science, with a possible career goal of art therapy.

“It’s kind of the best of both worlds,” she said. “I just know if I could combine art and science, that’s what I want to do.”