Once the new Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab space on WMC’s campus was identified and designed, medical center COO, Julie Miller said it became apparent that a prominent wall would need some special treatment so that patients didn’t have to stare at a large, blank wall.

“We knew of local muralist Michael Cooper because of work we are doing with him on the children’s hospital,” Miller said. “We talked to him about this space and the cost and then started thinking of a donor. We knew we couldn’t do the mural without someone privately funding it, so we worked through our foundation and found a donor for the project.”

Heather Leusink, clinical exercise physiologist with WMC’s Cardiac Rehab program, said she thinks anything that can help brighten up the space will be a great addition.

“Because we work with a number of patients who can have a tendency toward sadness and depression about their diagnosis, it’s helpful to do anything we can to keep the rehab space bright and lively,” Leusink said. “This mural gives the space much more personality. “

Cooper, a well-known Franklin-based muralist, said his creative process began with finding out what those involved with the new space wanted from the mural.

“It became clear to me that people who are coming down here for therapy need to learn to get moving again,” he said. “When I looked at the wall, I knew we could work with some architectural details to give it some depth. We added some windows and basically put a park down there that is full of activity.”

The project, which covers 600 square feet of wall space, took Cooper three weeks to finish.

“I am working on this and can speak from personal experience how important it is to get up and moving after you’ve had a cardiac event,” he said. “I had cardiac surgery back in December, but was up and walking within days. Five weeks later I was on the racquetball court. I got back up quickly, but there are some people who are not active who absolutely need to be. So the inspiration behind this mural is to influence people to get out and exercise.”

Ashley Perkins, WMC’s associate administrator for nursing, who oversaw the renovation of the new rehab space, said having the addition of Cooper’s mural makes the space even more exciting.

“The mural is definitely the focal point of our new space,” she said. “Our goal was to create a workout area in which our patients would feel like they were connected to the outdoors, as well as promote various activities to inspire them.  Mr. Cooper’s mural captures that vision perfectly with color and a little bit of whimsy.”