Since its conception in 2002 as a huge aquatic mural (currently at 33 feet long x 5.5 feet high consisting of 80 – 16 x 20 in oil on canvas) in the studio of artist, Olga Stamatiou, SEAWALL Child has played a pivotal role in the lives of the children it has touched. For many years Olga had toyed with ideas of how to help children in crisis, who were awaiting painful procedures, who were the victims of domestic violence, homeless children, disaster areas and most particularly children of poverty, the underserved. She intuitively knew the healing power of color and had seen research that validated the use of art as a tool in children’s crisis management. She also knew the power of aquariums to transport children ( and adults) to fantasy worlds of peace and calm, if only for a few moments. These ideas emerged one day when inspired by a video she had filmed in the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium in Monte Carlo, she decided to replace some of the 16 x 20 in canvases with video monitors, thus providing an interactive, educational possibility. She added a classical musical soundtrack, performed by The Charleston Symphony Orchestra and a live touch screen link to the South Carolina Aquarium. This resulted in the first SEEWALL unit, a unique art based multimedia display that is infinitely adaptable to aid children in a multitude of crisis situations. Seewall became a non-profit organization, 501(C) (3), in 2008. The first unit was installed in the lobby of the Children’s Hospital Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston (MUSC), in 2006. Many additional units and a mobile unit followed. My Sisters House (a home for battered women and their children), in Charleston, SC, were given many useful and playful products based on the original painting, thus adding for these underserved children a more cheerful and hopeful environment. The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center, Hope Have, CAPA and the story continues with many other installations thereafter. Now on the road 24/7/365, operation Seewall Child’s EMSv Emergency Mobile Service vehicle’s responding to children in crisis.
“Every time I walk by our waiting area there are several kids (and their parents) playing with the touch screen. The kids are having fun while learning, and best of all, are relieved of the anxiety, which a trip to the hospital invariably brings.”Jeanne G. Hill, M.D.
Associate Professor of Radiology and Pediatrics
Division Chief, Pediatric Radiology
Medical University of South Carolina