What's Your KCQ?

Bear with us: KCQ gets to know the animal on those Children’s Mercy Hospital signs

Drive past Children’s Mercy Hospital and you’ll be greeted by some unusual road signs.

It’s some sort of animal helping to direct drivers to the hospital entrance amid construction on the new Children’s Research Institute, scheduled to be completed by 2020.

The signs prompted Amanda Krenos to ask “What’s Your KCQ?”: “What type of animal are the construction signs around Children’s Mercy?”

“What’s Your KCQ?” is an ongoing series in which The Star and the Kansas City Public Library partner to answer reader queries about our region.

“It’s just a big goofy bear,” said Children’s Mercy in-house artist Donald Ross. “I picture him as like a walking 3-D employee of the hospital that’s helping people.”

The bear is a resurrection of the Mercy Bear, a mascot the hospital hasn’t used in a long time.

Ross, a graffiti artist who goes by the name Scribe, was tempted to make the signs kids’ size, but he decided to make them larger for readability.

“I like it when it’s like larger than life,” he said. “It feels like the cartoons are invading the real world.”

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“I picture him as like a walking 3-D employee of the hospital that’s helping people,” artist Donald “Scribe” Ross said of the bears on the construction signs. James Wooldridge jawooldridge@kcstar.com

After almost two decades of Scribe’s employment at the hospital, his work sparks imagination in almost every room. Children can play “I spy” with the murals lining waiting rooms and cafeterias. Whales float on the floor while smiling bumble bees hang from the ceiling.

“The bears are just kind of part of a larger cast of characters that make the kids feel safe and secure about being here at Children’s,” he said.

Scribe still watches cartoons with his two sons. Through the shows, he can glimpse what young children are watching and laughing at.

“Maybe I’m struggling with growing up myself,” he said with a chuckle. “But I think that like laughter and smiles and stuff behind artwork like that are one of the coolest gifts that you can give people.”

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Dustin Gladbach, who works on the construction of a new building at Children’s Mercy Hospital, walks past a sign created by in-house artist Donald “Scribe” Ross. James Wooldridge jawooldridge@kcstar.com

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The Star and the Kansas City Public Library are interested in answering your questions about the Kansas City region. Submit your questions on The Star’s or the Library’s website. (See the module below.) Then we will investigate and report out the answers to your KC curiosities. We’ll show you who we talked to and how we found the answer. We’ll also teach you about the available resources. Read more by clicking the arrow in the upper right.

How did KCQ get started?

The Star started its relationship with the Kansas City Public Library through its work with the News Co/Lab at Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. We are working with ASU to educate the public on how journalism happens, how stories are reported and the importance of transparency in our work.

Do you have a question?

Amanda Krenos asked this question as part of our ongoing “What’s Your KCQ?” series in partnership with the Kansas City Library. The series encourages readers to ask questions about the Kansas City region.

Visit kansascity.com/kcq to submit your questions.

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