Residents at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in downtown Augusta have a new view out of their dining room window in part because of the efforts of one area student.
Priya Gulati, the daughter of Drs. Nidhi and Adarsh Gulati, of Martinez, has been volunteering at the nursing home where her mother has been the medical director for several years. Dr. Gulati decided it was time to do something to spruce up the unattractive 65-foot cinderblock wall.
"I really was excited about this project," said Priya, a 17-year-old senior at Lakeside High School. "Emily Ullo, a medical illustration student at the Medical College of Georgia, conceptualized what the mural would look like, and it turned out great."
To determine how to proceed with a theme for the project, Priya consulted with Dean Harrell, an MCG professor and family physician with a special interest in geriatrics. He told Priya it would be best to not focus on military images, as that might cause post traumatic stress syndrome for some of the home's residents. The decision to paint a patriotic mural was Priya's biggest desire.
"We ended up doing a spanning view of the United States, starting with the Pacific Ocean on the left and continuing across," said Priya, who was helped by friends, family and MCG medical illustration students in bringing the Sea to Shining Sea mural to fruition.
"I first became involved when her father, who was one of my professors last year, came over to talk to the students in our department and asked if anyone would be interested," said Ullo, a second-year medical illustration student. "I said I would kind of spearhead it, and it turned out amazing."
The day before the painting of the mural, the wall was washed and prepared. The idea to project the original to-scale sketch by first-year medical illustration student Brendan Taylor was nixed after it was determined that the entire image could not be projected onto the wall. Ullo and Priya sketched the theme onto the wall, with Ullo creating color sketches for the volunteers who would show up the next day and begin painting.
For her efforts, Priya was awarded the Girl Scouts' highest honor, the Gold Award.
"I've been in Girl Scouts since I was in kindergarten," said Priya, who plans to attend college to pursue a degree in the medical field.
Ullo said Priya's work on the mural was a "tremendous job. She was very thorough. It's so rare and so great when someone wants to do something (selflessly). "
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