NEWS | March 31, 2020

Child Life team chalks up hope in front of UC Davis Medical Center, Cancer Center


“There is a rainbow at the end of the storm.”

The Child Life team decorated the emergency department entrance.  The Child Life team decorated the emergency department entrance.

This is just one of the messages that the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy team have penned in sidewalk chalk in front of entrances to the UC Davis Medical Center and Comprehensive Cancer Center.  

Employees and visitors are also greeted with “Not all heroes wear capes ... some wear scrubs” and “Always look on the bright side of life.”

In child-like pastel colors and bold fonts, they send words of encouragement to all who see them.

“This is a tough time for all: the hospital staff, physicians and nurses as well as the patients and families. Our staff wanted to share positive messages for those entering the facility, both here at the hospital and at the Cancer Center,” said Diana Sundberg, manager of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department. “It hopefully will be a bit of a bright spot in the day.”

The art is common among child life departments at children’s hospitals across the country. It is a spin off of the “Chalk your Walk” national movement that aims to share positive words of encouragement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UC Davis Child Life team wanted to put their own spin on it.

Art therapist Katie Lorain and other child life specialists started creating sidewalk chalk art installations this week, complete with hand-drawn pictures of rainbows, sunshine, stars and even Winnie the Pooh. Nurses have also joined in to help encourage others.

“During this trying time, it can be difficult to feel connected to your support system, whether you are sheltering in place or working an essential job. Public chalk art serves as a witness to this struggle, joining staff, visitors and patients together through a shared viewing experience,” Lorain said. “Art reminds us that we are not alone, and in fact, we are both seen and heard.”

View photos of the sidewalk chalk installations.