PICU “Wall of Courage” Murals

The “Wall of Courage” murals started back in 2006 when Motts Children’s Hospital was in its original building. I painted a very large area of the PICU on site over several weeks. A few years later, I was contacted to add on to the original mural. Then a few years later, I was asked if I would be willing to paint the mural again when Motts moved to their new building. This post will show the progression of the murals. My style and skill as a painter increased over those many years. The final updated murals are painted on aluminum panels so that they can be moved at any future date.

The original intent of the “Wall of Courage” was to give encouragement to patients and their caretakers during their stay at the Intensive Care Unit at Motts. The nurses were the ones who originally came up with the concept and collected the donations to make the mural a reality. I didn’t really understand the purpose of the murals until a man came up to me during the unveiling and told me that he was brought to tears when he read the stories of the children. Not because they were sad, but because they gave him hope. His child spent many months in the ICU and those first few days were the hardest. He said he felt completely alone until he came into the hallway and saw the murals.

The original “Wall of Courage” at the original Motts

Below are photos from the new “Wall of Courage.” Like the old mural, the new one is on several walls. The murals have large open spaces in which to put the photos of the patients and their stories. The rocks in the original mural served as an easy way to hide scrapes in the wall that happen over time in a hospital setting. In the second mural, the rocks were no longer required, but the staff liked them, so I used them as an opportunity to carve the word “courage” in many different languages. The new wall does not have the “Wall of Courage” banner, so the carved rocks served that new purpose as well.


Katherine Larson

Katherine Larson is a graphic artist, muralist and classical singer from Dexter, Michigan.

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