DPR Helps Bring Smiles and Whimsy To Diamond Children’s Medical Center

When children receiving medical treatment at Diamond Children’s Medical Center look out of the window, the first thing they notice will likely be the bright and comforting artwork featuring images of puppies, familiar Sonoran Desert animals, and a range of sea life. The 900 sq. ft. mural is hard to miss.

Mural Unveiling
DPR Construction’s Matt Thrower (center) greets attendees during the unveiling of the new mural at Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson. Patient Marcelino Cordova (seated) shares a synopsis of his cancer journey, the care he received, and the impact he believes this mural will have on children and their families. He has been a part of the Banner Diamond Children’s family since 2010. Courtesy of Austin Tepper

As the general contractor of the soon-to-be-opened pediatric hematology and oncology facility at the Tucson children’s hospital, the project team at DPR Construction conceptualized the large-scale art when looking for a way to leave something special behind for the young patients receiving care. The mural is painted in direct view of the patient treatment area on the wall of the parking structure adjacent to the new clinic.

Diamond Children’s Medical Center is the pediatric hospital associated with Banner–University Medicine and its other two adult hospitals, Banner –University Medical Center–Tucson and Banner–University Medical Center-South.

“We wanted something whimsical and fun that would bring a bit of joy to the children going through an incredibly challenging time in their lives,” said DPR Construction project executive Matt Thrower.“Patients spend a lot of time in these spaces and it was important for us to contribute something meaningful to the hospital and community.”

The mural was painted by local artist Joe Pagac who used augmented reality to make the characters come to life. The technology transforms the viewing experience and enables 3D digital content to be superimposed over the art when viewed through a smart device like a tablet or phone.

Photo of mural
The mural outside of the pediatric hematology and oncology facility at Diamond Children’s Medical Center was developed to bring joy to young patients said DPR Construction project executive Matt Thrower. Courtesy of Tim Hyde

DPR coordinated the mural’s development and worked with the entire project team of designers and trade partners to raise the funding for the mural.

“We presented the proposal to the Banner – University Medicine and Diamond Children’s team and the Banner Health Foundation, and were blown away by their excitement and support,” said Thrower. “The companies that are building the pediatric hematology and oncology center came together in a big way. We were able to fully fund the project and wall repairs needed to make this a reality.”

Tucson is already home to nearly 60 vibrant murals, so the addition was a natural fit in the desert city. Thrower said the desert scenery and animals pay homage to the town’s Southwest location while the fantasy and underwater elements were added to let viewers’ imagination run wild.