By Sophia Ricco
The walls in the Huntington Library’s Station branch will look a lot cheerier thanks to colorful murals donated by Splashes of Hope.
The non-profit organization works to brighten orphanages, hospitals and shelters by creating colorful murals. The hope is that seeing the murals will make those going through difficult times smile.
Splashes of Hope designed, painted and delivered one massive mural for the library’s teen room and two smaller ones for the kids room, each with Splashes’ signature whimsy and vibrancy. These murals are supported and sponsored by the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation.
“We think the mural will create a very uplifting and educational environment,” Heather Bugée, founder of Splashes of Hope said. “It’s something that could be inspiring for the teens. And it’s a reflection of the care and thoughtfulness that the librarians have to try to help the kids in the community to better themselves through education.”
After hearing about Splahes’ contribution to a library in Riverhead, Huntington Library Director Joanne Adam reached out to the organization. The Huntington Station branch recently underwent renovations after taking over a second floor, making it the perfect fit.
“We recently moved the teen room and we’ve been furnishing it to make it more teen-oriented,” Adam said. “This sort of completes it by putting the mural up.”
These finishing touches will create an atmosphere that is more child friendly, while also being educational and bringing a “good feeling,” Adam said. “They’re very uplifting to look at.”
With the expansion the library can offer far more activities and materials for kids of all ages to enjoy.
“We can spread out and give them a bigger space,” Adam said. “The teen room is twice the size of what it was before. It is very nice.”
Both murals set scenes of fantasy. In one a train with a bookworm conductor runs through the library. Another features animals enjoying the waves on boats and kayaks.
“The murals are always allegorical. They involve storytelling so it was a great fit,” Bugée said.
The mural incorporates ideas from teen library patrons. One of the librarians who works in the teen room, found they wanted the art to be Huntington related and incorporate a train.
The mural depicts a friendly, inviting place that is full of smiles and books to get lost in. The library hopes the message of teens exploring other worlds through books will inspire them to read and grow with literature.
“In our logo, which is ‘H’ for Huntington, we have the words ‘Dream, Learn, Connect’ and they actually incorporated that… Without even realizing it, when you look at it you might get that feeling that, ‘This is what I’m at the library for. I can dream here, I can learn here, and I can connect here,’” Adam said.
The kids room will also have uplifting additions. There will be two “I Spy” murals with letters to find within the bigger image. These murals work as fascinating pieces to observe, but also as a mentally stimulating activity.
“The longer you look at it, the more you see… You’ll see different things and you might feel inspired in different ways,” Adam said. “You could think, ‘Where are they going on the train?’ and your mind could just start wondering and become creative that way.”
The library finds it important to keep children and teens coming back to foster a love of reading.
“This is a place that everyone is welcome,” Adam said. “If someone gets to feel that way and they’re comfortable here, this is a lifelong place for them to go. If they start young, getting used to coming to the library then I think they’ll continue to always come.”
At the mural donation, the Huntington Station library held a program for teens to design Friend on the Mend bags that will be donated to Huntington Hospital pediatric patients.
“Coming to the library and being involved in something here is going to enrich their own personal lives and help to show that they can reach out to help someone else,” Adam said.
In the future, the library hopes to collaborate with Splashes of Hope to involve teens with painting.