The elaborate and gleeful murals adorning the corridors of Child Haven (701 N. Pecos Rd.), painted by internationally respected artist Sush Machida, provide comfort and cheer to children entering the care of the Department of Family Services.
Machida, who is represented by galleries in Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo, painted the murals by hand. They took seven months to complete and cover 2,000 square feet of walls in an entry area, corridors and waiting rooms.
Machida painted animals, sky and water to trigger peaceful responses in children and adults. Nearly every animal in his murals smiles. The colors he used have been proven to soothe. Nevada Lighting generously donated new fixtures to illuminate the work.
With his brush, Machida transforms children’s first look at Child Haven, easing their fears and the stress of the intake process. At the same time, officials believe the work marks Child Haven as a place of hope, compassion and understanding.
“The first time I came through this place it was not happy,” said Machida, who beat 32 other applicants for the project. “I feel more responsibility because kids come through here. These kids, they need to have something happen here rather than a plain wall. Murals in this kind of place are more about experience than appreciation of art.”
“It’s very tough for children who are removed from their homes,” said County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, whose district includes Child Haven. “When they come to us they are very apprehensive, so we want to do whatever we can to make that transition easier. In this case, art eases the pain of that transition. This is just a wonderful project.”
“We are extremely honored to have the opportunity to partner with an artist who is creating awesome and inspiring artwork for our children in care,” said Assistant Director Paula Hammack, whose department, Family Services, oversees Child Haven. ”Mr. Machida has done more than craft stunning artwork – he has produced a series of murals that are colorful and welcoming for our kids and staff.”
The project was funded by the Clark County Percent for the Arts program, approved by the County Commission in July 2012 and administered by Parks and Recreation Department. The murals were the first major project financed by the new fund. Funds come from the special ad valorem tax and room tax revenues.
The Child Haven shelter is a licensed facility, staffed by employees who provide safe, nurturing temporary care for children who cannot safely remain with their families. County staff provides direct care, daily supervision, and life skills development to children in this temporary placement. These procedures promote and support the sound operation of the Child Haven Shelter program.
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