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Community artwork sought to brighten up Calgary’s temporary pandemic health care facility

Alberta Health Services announced Saturday that construction was finished on the temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients in Calgary. Mike Hills/Global News

The temporary health care facility that recently opened at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is looking for homemade art to help bring comfort to patients and healthcare workers.

The 766-square-metre field hospital — called a Sprung Pandemic Response facility — adds capacity to help meet increasing demand caused by the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: AHS builds temporary Calgary health-care facility

A research associate professor with the University of Calgary, Raad Fadaak, said he was touring the tent — which opened last week — to check for safety-related issues when he noticed the bare walls.

Now, he’s asking for Calgarians help bring some colour to the facility.

“We were looking for safety issues for infection, prevention and control, and I noticed that the walls were quite barren and white,” Fadaak said.

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“So I recommended and suggested that we should try and find some community art, notes and messages to liven up the space and make it a little more lively and habitable.”

READ MORE: Why is the Calgary zone such a hot spot for COVID-19?

Fadaak said he was inspired by other pandemic response units that have been created across the globe, particularly the Javits Centre in New York City, which he said provided small potted plants to each bed in the facility.

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“That sprung to my mind as a small human touch that made those rooms a bit nicer and a bit more habitable for patients,” he said.

Fadaak is asking for something a little different in Calgary to add a little warmth to the rooms. He said notes, drawings and letters to hang on the walls are all welcome submissions.

“We’re looking for any messages, drawings or small doodles of support that remind people of hope,” he said.

“And that reminds people of life outside of the tent walls and that there’s a light on the other side of this.”

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Over the last five days, Fadaak said he’s received more than 40 submissions, which is already enough to place one piece of work in each room within the tent, but there’s room for more.

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“[The work] will find a place on a desk somewhere of a healthcare worker or on the filing cabinet,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s a limit to accepting the kindness of these submissions.

“The outpouring of support and interest has been really motivating and the staff have been ecstatic to receive the first batch of these drawings.”

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Fadaak added that safety precautions are being followed with the installation of these pieces, including working with community members to laminate all the artwork to create a surface that’s easier to disinfect.

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Fadaak also noted that no framed pieces will be accepted as the organic material could house the virus.

Anyone looking to send in their work can contact Fadaak at covid.wellwishes@gmail.com.

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