Young artist paints windows at hospital that cared for her siblings

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 11:53 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Talk about giving back in a beautiful way.

A young artist in Bell County is sharing her talents with the hospital which cared for her younger siblings when they were ill.

Meadow Lee, 13, of Belton, has been spending her summer at McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple--but not because she’s a patient there.

The Belton ISD eighth grader is painting the hospital’s windows.

“Naturally it can be a little bit scary to be in a hospital,” said Lee. “Whenever I’m sad, art kind of distracts me as well, so I felt like maybe it would help them (patients and their families), too.”

Lee usually draws and paints on a small-scale, only seen by close family and friends and teachers.

However, now her art is on display on a massive canvas for countless eyes to see.

“It’s kind of like ‘huh, how did we go from making little doodles like this, to doing murals at a hospital?’” Lee said in humble disbelief. “I am very scared of putting myself out there, especially my hobbies or art out there, so this was a big thing.”

Earlier this year, Meadow submitted a portfolio to Baylor Scott & White Health in hopes of being able to paint the windows, and after they saw her work, the request was granted.

Although it’s been a dream, Lee admits, it’s also been a challenge.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it and say ‘oh, it’s all been fine’ because it’s been pretty difficult,” she said. “One time I had to go to the bathroom and spend like a solid five-minutes washing paint out of my hair, but as long as the result makes other people happy, that’s the goal.”

Even more beautiful than her paintings is the reason behind them: Lee’s younger siblings have both been patients at the hospital before, and she wanted to say ‘thank you’ to the hospital staff and help be a healing distraction for families.

“My little siblings, Rain and Cannon, were in the hospital at one point, a couple points actually, and I want people to believe it’s not a place they should be scared of,” said Lee.

Like her siblings, Lee herself had a lengthy hospital stay when she was five, hers was due to a staff infection.

Although she was treated at a different hospital in Round Rock, she says she remembers it well, and it also inspired her.

“It was very scary, I had several IVs and everything was scary because I didn’t think that everything would be normal again, it felt like everyone was just going to walk past me in childhood and that I wouldn’t grow like they did because of a hospital,” said Lee. “It was very stressful, which is why I wanted to make it (the hospital) something people would look at more than the other things around them.”

One set of paintings features ‘Luca’ the sea monster paired with an abstract of similar colors.

The other set features butterflies and flowers heading into the hospital’s healing garden--a spot her mother has needed before.

“The butterfly was more personal, it was actually because of my grandmother who passed away from cancer when I was two or three, and our whole family believes she has a connection with butterflies, and so it was a personal feeling,” said Lee. “I want to give a very big thank you to the hospital for giving me this opportunity, I’ve gotten to do more than I thought I was going to do, initially it was going to be the healing garden and second floor, but now there are a bunch of other departments that are asking for things, so I’m very happy that I can have the opportunity to do this, I would have never expected it, and it’s more than I could ever ask for.”

Alison Clinton Lee says she’s blown away by her daughter’s talent.

“Meadow’s been a little philanthropist forever, she’s got a beautiful heart, and I’m so grateful she’s actually using her God-given gift,” said Clinton Lee. “It’s therapy for her as well; it’s healing for her to help somebody else.”

In addition, the mom says she’s proud of her daughter’s ability to put herself out there for the sake of others.

“It’s necessary to put yourself out there to spread the love and encourage others, and that you can help each other heal,” said Clinton Lee. “I think in the environment that we’re living in right now this is really, really necessary and it’s really cool to see our youth doing something necessary and really sweet like this.”

Mom isn’t the only one beaming with pride: little brother and sister are big fans of the art, too.

“My younger kids love it,” said Clinton Lee. “Our son is going to be going back up there and he’s been in one of the rooms that she has painted on, and he loved it, and now it’s HIS sister that did it.”

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