Local artist completes caregiver-inspired mural at Lakewood Family Health Center

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A muralist for more than a decade, Lakewood resident Ryan J. Jaenke recently completed his first commissioned project in his hometown.

Themed “Together We Can Do So Much,” Lakewood Family Health Center’s 80-foot-long painting featuring bright and attention-grabbing colors was created to honor and inspire Cleveland Clinic caregivers and community members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Living in the city, I’ve seen past iterations of this project,” said Cleveland native Jaenke, who has called Lakewood home for five years. “Each installation in the exhibit space I’ve watched go up and down for the past couple of years. I thought it would be a great place for a mural.

“I was invited to submit a proposal. It turned out to be a pretty good fit. The project needed to address the current healthcare crisis and to provide a positive message toward the essential workers at the Clinic and the rest of the community in Lakewood.”

After working for 12 days, Jaenke finished the mural last month. Previously the artist completed projects around the region, including at the New Albany Data Center outside of Columbus; however, the Lakewood Family Health Center mural is his largest to date.

“I wanted it to be a message of positivity and hope,” Jaenke said. “While it’s geared towards the essential workers here in Lakewood, it’s also geared towards the general passerby.

“Public art is like a blip on the radar out in the world. Some people take notice and others it just recedes into the background. I wanted it to be uplifting for anybody who would come into contact with it.”

The idea of Jaenke completing the Lakewood Family Health Center is apropos considering he’s a living liver donor. In 2014, he donated a piece of his liver to his dad, Gregory, at the Cleveland Clinic.

“As patients at the main campus, there was a lot of time spent at the hospital — getting evaluated, going through a lengthy interview process and undergoing surgery,” Jaenke said. “That experience being on campus and seeing their world-class art collection — which really for me as a person who enjoys not only creating art but also looking at art — provided comfort in a very difficult and trying situation.

“So the opportunity to create a piece of art that will be a temporary part of the Clinic’s collection is just full circle. Even if just one person is positively affected by it, that would make me very happy.”

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