By Janee Law
Coindre Hall was transported back to the Roaring Twenties last Thursday night, when attendees of the nonprofit Splashes of Hope’s 20th anniversary gala dressed in flapper dresses and striped, three-button suits, marched in past Ford Model T vehicles lined up on the front lawn and to the tune live jazz music playing at the entrance of the Huntington mansion.
Members of Huntington-based Splashes of Hope, an organization that uses art to transform hospital environments from clinical to colorful, celebrated two years of operation and recognized two key groups of people, the Kravczyk family, which has been dedicated to Splashes of Hope since its inception; and the 2016 “Splash Stars,” a group of nine children with serious medical conditions.
Consisting of several volunteer artists, Splashes of Hope has worked across 37 states, where it has “splashed” hospitals, healthcare centers, and clinics by painting artwork on things like ceiling tiles and doors, and areas like exam rooms, hallways, lobbies and waiting rooms, said Heather Buggee, founder and director of the nonprofit. The organization paints several scenes including window scenes, jungle rainforest, underwater, sky, and local landmarks.
Locally, the organization has splashed Huntington Hospital, Stony Brook University Hospital, Winthrop University Hospital, Northwell Health Huntington Hospital and more.
Buggee said each splash star, whom they met through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, received a mural of their liking for their bedrooms.
She added, “They’re children with very serious medical conditions, but who have brought so much joy to their families and inspired us.”
And now they’re a part of the “Splash family.”
The mural created for Thomas Hammerquist, a Splash Star who has tuberous sclerosis complex, consists of a wide-open landscape, across which fly two popular “Toy Story” characters, Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody; as well as Thomas the Tank Engine from “Thomas & Friends” and several characters from the “Muppets.”
Thomas, 9, who was also a recipient of a Make-a-Wish grant, loved the mural so much that he “freaked out” when he saw it,” said his mother, Cindy, of Huntington.
Splashes of Hope volunteer Sean Carlson painted the mural, which is encompasses all of her son’s “favorite things,” she said. It’s “wonderful.”
After 20 years of operation, Buggee has begun to look toward the next generation of Splashes of Hope. She said she’s excited for her daughter, Sarah, a painter, who she hopes will bring the nonprofit to that new generation, and keep it growing.
Buggee added, “I never could have dreamed that we would come this far, and that there would be so much support from the community for this mission.”