The No Smoking mural on the Ferry family wall ledge, painted by artist Robert Gordon, has elicited approving comment from passersby and apparently deterred Mercy Hospital smokers who don’t want to be seen sitting on the wall, puffing away. “I saw the artist painting that,” says Clarence Summerfield of 43rd street. “It’s beautiful, and for someone who doesn’t smoke it’s a really big health issue.” ESP’s photo essay about the mural was followed by a feature article in the Sacramento Bee (Our Region, Thursday, July 26). Now, says Jim Ferry, smokers stand in clusters and “smoke near the driveway.” It’s as if the Ferrys are slowly inching the smokers back to Mercy property.
Conceived by Joanie Ferry, the mural idea generated a lot of neighborhood buzz, most of it overwhelmingly positive. “It’s a great use of art for private and public good,” says neighbor Eileen Lynch. She adds that she follows the Ferry struggle with the Mercy Corporation on Jim Ferry’s blog (Living Next to Mercy).
Artist Gordon, who worked in part from idea sketches submitted by the Ferrys, will continue to work on the wall, and will next paint a a “No Truck Zone” mural on the Ferry’s garage which faces the Mercy parking lot. This zone had been exploited by Mercy vehicles that send idling exhaust and fumes onto Ferry property.
“Neighbors shouldn’t have to breathe these toxins,” says Lynch. “It’s why so many of us end up in hospitals in the first place. Kudos to the Ferrys.”