While embarking on the first major expansion of its Atlanta campus in more than a decade, Northside Hospital encountered an unwelcoming sight: a 100-foot-wide cement column in the center of a patient vehicle drop-off circle.

The structural column supported the weight of a new eight-story patient tower, but it was located near the front door and lobby of the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, meaning patients and visitors have to drive or walk around the column to enter the building.

Rather than accept the eyesore, the hospital worked with Art Initiative Inc. (Atlanta), the art advisor on the project, to commission a 2,000-square-foot mural by Atlanta artist Ryan Coleman to cover the column.

The wrap features golden hues and other colors inspired by nature in memory of a former patient, Lynn Teague, whose favorite flower was the sunflower. Donations from family and friends made to the Northside Hospital Foundation helped support the project.

“Lynn’s family wanted to provide a calm, serene, and inspiring place for rest for patients and families away from the patient room,” says Freda Hardage, director of foundation services and Alpharetta medical campus at Northside Hospital. “The mural provides an uplifting virtual garden to greet patients, families, and visitors.”

Coleman used latex acrylic exterior paint to create the artwork, which took nearly five weeks to complete last spring, and lighting was installed in the ceiling to illuminate the mural. The vibrant artwork encompasses the full column and can be seen from the interior spaces of the building lobby, as well.“It’s really the central focus of the entrance,” says Coleman. “You can’t help but see it.”