Artist transforms children’s room inside YMCA

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 March 2020 at 12:32 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Jill Pettigrew, an artist from Batavia, shows off a transformed room this morning at the Orleans County YMCA to Greg Reed, the Y director.

Pettigrew painted the mural that shows animals having a picnic in the forest. The wall used to be white on top with blue on the bottom.

Pettigrew worked on the mural for a few weeks. This past weekend she worked long hours to create a radical new space in the child watch room at the Y. This morning was the big reveal to Y staff and parents.

Here is how the wall looked before Pettigrew’s artwork.

Gavin Gursslin, 3, of Medina tries the new basketball hoop that is mounted by the wall. The room has artwork and many other stations to encourage children to be active.

“To see the transformation is just incredible,” said Allison Gursslin, Gavin’s mother and one of the staff at the child watch room.

That room is open from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is free to Y members who want supervision for their children while the Y members work out or participate in a class at the Y on Pearl Street.

Ivy Wroblewski, 2, of Medina looks through a magnifying glass. Pettigrew created a nature scene on a cabinet with removable magnetic insects.

Pettigrew was hired last year to paint artwork on the Y’s sidewalks and stairs. Some of the designs resemble obstacle courses, a balance beam, swings and other scenes popular at playgrounds.

The YMCA received a $51,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to transform the sidewalks and steps by the Y with art. There was grant money left over from that project to pay Pettigrew to work on the child watch room.

These children play at the kitchen scene, which includes a slot for the mail. The transformed space includes the furniture for the role playing.

“We’re giving kids more opportunities to play together,” said Greg Reed, the Y director. “Kids learn through play.”

Nora Gursslin, 8 months, explores the watch room this morning at the YMCA.

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