Students Visit Albany Medical Center’s Autism Clinic to See Their Displayed Artwork

Albany Medical Center’s Autism Medical Home clinic is more colorful and cheerful thanks to art students at Columbia High School in the East Greenbush Central School District. Students in the Cartooning class painted ceiling tiles with cartoon characters and inspirational messages and donated them to the clinic.

“My patients can sometimes be scared or reluctant to come to the doctor’s office,” said Carrin Schottler-Thal, MD, director of the Autism Medical Home. “These paintings have brought cheer and instantly calmed them as they settle into their appointment.”

Albany Medical Center nurse Alison Johnson, RN, came up with the idea after hearing about a similar project at a hospital in New Jersey.

“I reached out to my friend Patti LeRoy who is an art teacher at Columbia High School, and she thought it would be a great project for her Cartooning class,” said Johnson. “The students did a great job, and the tiles look beautiful!”

“My students were excited to be involved and be of service to others, contributing their talents for the greater good,” said LeRoy. “By recreating some favorite children's characters from books, TV, and movies, their hope is to alleviate fears and provide comfort to the children in the Autism Clinic. Art is healing.”

LeRoy and the students visited Albany Medical Center today to see the more than 30 ceiling tiles hanging throughout the clinic and learn about the positive impact of their artwork.

Jack Murphy, a tenth-grade student, shared he is interested in animation, so he painted an original character.

“Cartoons helped me as a kid, and put smile on my face,” said Murphy. “And I want to do the same for children in future generations.”

Johnson says she has more ceiling tiles available to paint, and she’s hoping to share them with other Albany Medical Center pediatric offices.