Artist's murals much more than just paint on walls

Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 25, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:20:02-04

When you think hospital, you think plain white walls. But, that isn't the case for McLane Children's Hospital... and it's all thanks to a woman who has gone above and beyond what was asked of her. 

Meet Debbi Unger, a woman whose work is so much more than just paint on a wall. 

"Doctors and nurses, all staff, walk by and just say to each other as they see me working, 'we look like a children's hospital,'" said Debbi Unger, a Central Texas muralist. 

Unger was hired to paint murals, funded by donations from staff and families, on the walls of McLane Children's hospital.

But, those murals have turned into stories.

"My daughter loves giraffes, and she's battled an eating disorder for a very long time. So this one just kinda reminds everyone no matter what you're going through, just keep your head up, stand tall, everything's going to be okay," Charity Driver, a pediatric nurse at McLane Children's, said. 

And it's those type of positive thoughts, smiles and joy that Unger has seen her free-handed murals bring to McLane Children's.

"We hired her to make fun things for our unit and for our patients, we just never thought that the artist herself would help impact those lives, too," McLane Children's pediatric nurse Corbin Winkle said. 

Nurses say they sometimes have to track down Unger just to find their patients who love to watch her paint.

"She would just talk and talk about their day, and they would just share stories and just hangout. It was just a therapy we weren't expecting," Winkle added.

But Unger says the therapy goes both ways.

"It's probably changed me since I've been here. It just makes me feel like I've accomplished something huge really just because of not so much the painting, but again the, the joy," Unger said. "It will always be near and dear to my heart." 

Debbi Unger added she has never felt so strongly about a job in her 25+ years as a freelance artist. 

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