Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS employee turns campus into an art canvas
Dale Baggerley’s job title at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania may be maintenance support, but it is his artistic talents that are earning him praise and admiration from the youth he serves, his fellow employees and visitors alike.
For the past several years – in addition to making campus upgrades – Baggerley has been tasked with transforming the white cinder block walls at the Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services (CIDDS) center in West Chester, Pa., into works of art.
“You can see my artwork in at least five buildings on campus,” said Baggerley. “Each building serves a different population, and I always try to come up with a theme based on the unique needs and nature of that particular building – and the individuals who work, visit or reside in it.”
Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS Executive Director Carol Anne McNellis, Psy.D. BCBA, noted, “Everyone who sees Dale’s artwork is in awe – from our youth and their families to our employees and community supporters. The quality and detail of his work is astounding. When you walk into a building or a room Dale has graced with his artistic touch – it just makes you feel good.”
An artistic touch
Baggerley, who recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary at Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS, earned his bachelor’s degree in art and biology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He also is a certified special education teacher. While he is known around campus for his colorful brush strokes and keen eye to detail, Baggerley does not like to call himself an artist – he leaves that title to his wife, internationally-known printmaker Shelley Thorstensen – but his artwork says otherwise.
“Because art is transformative and can change the way you think or feel about something, I wanted to create truly immersive experiences for our youth,” Baggerley explained. “The murals cover entire hallways, dining rooms, entryways and stairwells. Some are as large as a couple thousand square feet and take months to complete.”
Beautifying campus one building at a time
Baggerley painted a birch forest in the halls of one building to evoke a sense of calm; the butterfly garden depicted in another hallway symbolizes change or transformation; and the tropical rainforest donning the stairwell of a third building represents the idea of exploration.
On the walls of a Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS dining room, Baggerley painted a 360-degree view of the campus to promote the idea of community. He is working on a similar project in another dining room.
“I am constantly amazed by Dale’s gift,” shared Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS Operations Manager Leana Thedford, who first tapped into Baggerley’s talent three or four years ago as a way to brighten the buildings and create a more homelike atmosphere for youth served at the campus. “Each mural tells a different story, and I am always left wondering what masterpiece Dale will create next.”
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