Photo by Haley Ausbun. Chip Coates, a Renton teacher, donated his time to install murals at the Valley Medical Center Children’s Therapy facility.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Chip Coates, a Renton teacher, donated his time to install murals at the Valley Medical Center Children’s Therapy facility.

A mural of Renton inspires smiles

Teacher, painter paints children’s waiting room for free

Chip Coates is a fifth grade Renton teacher, who paints murals in his spare time. His latest project had him up at 6 a.m., painting before school.

He was helping kids in a different way.

Coates has added a splash of happy colors and memorable scenery onto the walls at the Valley Medical Center (VMC) Children’s Therapy office, located near the Renton IKEA.

This project began last year, when Coats emailed several hospitals about creating a mural. He said he was interested in creating something visitors could interact with, and that he was drawn to hospitals after spending a lot of time in them when he was younger. Previously he painted murals for homes, restaurants and designed theatre sets.

A few months later, in August 2018, he got a reply. VMC Children’s Therapy Rehabilitation Manager Kari Tanta said they got a play area mural a few years back and had been interested in updating the waiting room. The problem was there was no money for new murals, but Coates offered his work for free, donating his time and paint.

Coates wanted the images to be fun, while also not overwhelming the children in the waiting rooms and listening to what staff wanted. The Roxy Theatre, a Boeing jet, Renton High school and Pike Place Market are all featured on the mural.

Since February, Coates has come in and painted the mural bit-by-bit. He was comfortable with the families watching him paint each day. Some children have even asked him questions about the work, which includes some recognizable landmarks from around Renton and the Seattle area.

“I’ve always been someone that likes to do big paintings, and this (project) just resonates with who I am,” Coates said.

Children’s Therapy provides inpatient and outpatient treatment in occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, social and nutritional services, and family resource coordination. This project comes at the same time as the waiting room is getting remodeled, Tanta said.

The murals have now become an extension of the therapy, Tanta said, and that they’ve become another part of the equipment. The mural has also been a talking point at the weekly art therapy sessions for the facility.

“These murals are very interactive. In the waiting room our kids are working on language and social skills, talking about murals as places their families go,” Tanta said. “That’s been really exciting.”

More of his work can be found at sunnyday.org.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. The new murals at the Valley Medical Center Children’s Therapy facility.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. The new murals at the Valley Medical Center Children’s Therapy facility.

More in News

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17 at the state Capitol in Olympia. Marshall condemned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which expelled Rep. Matt Shea from the Republican Caucus. Marshall announced his candidacy for the 2nd District seat held by House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Criticism levied at Matt Shea investigation, Republican leadership.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (center) announced a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a press conference Jan. 2. Debbie Warfield of Everett (left) lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2012. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (right) lost her son to an overdose of OxyContin in 2017. They are joined by Rep. Lauren Davis of Shoreline (second from right), founder of the Washington Recovery Alliance. (TVW screenshot)
AG Bob Ferguson talks lawsuits, gun control

Washington state Attorney General stopped by Sound Publishing’s Kirkland office.

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Opponent of the Energize Eastside project, Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sustainable Energy (CENSE) president Don Marsh presents to the Renton Hearing Examiner during a public hearing, Jan. 8, for the project.
Contention over Energize Eastside

PSE, the public and opponents discuss issues for 5 hours

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

REA board voted out

Union members use their power to remove leaders from office

Renton schools closed Tuesday for icy road conditions

Schools went from a two hour late start, to closed for Jan. 14

Most Read