Asheville parking deck wall about to become picture of hope for cancer patients

Artist Ian Wilkinson is about to turn a stark and sterile parking deck wall at Mission Cancer Center into a 20,000 square-foot mural. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The war on cancer is waged on many levels, with patients fighting on the front lines.

They need all the support they can get, and an artful approach to healing is happening at Mission Cancer Center in Asheville.

The second level of the parking deck is stark and sterile now, and the first thing a patient sees.

But lots of paint, brushes and volunteers are about to change that, with a 20,000 square-foot mural.

Still in the planning stages, the concept is one of hope and healing, before people ever enter the facility.

"Instead of a feeling of dread, sometimes as patients feel to come get their treatment, they're going to have a spark of joy," Cancer Center executive director Marika Loveless said.

To the untrained eye, the concrete walls look dull and sterile, but that is not how Asheville’s Ian Wilkinson, the muralist organizing the project, sees it.

"For me, they're better than canvas, they're sweet painting surfaces," Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson has already painted two small murals at the Cancer Center entrance, which inspired the Healing Garden, where patients and family can go to rest and spend time together.

Now, Wilkinson is taking on a much more ambitious project, that he knows will be rewarding.

"It's just an opportunity to brighten, brighten the lives of people that really could use some brightening at this time in their life," he said.

Cancer survivors like Hugh Farrell appreciate what will happen in the place where he parks his car at the center. He said beyond the great care and treatment he receives, every little bit helps.

"A first burst of color in a dank parking garage would give you a first sense of hope and help your spirit," Farrell said.

Click here if you'd like to help with the mural project.

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