The chalk challenge has taken over the VA Hospital in Buffalo.

Nicole Hennessy is drawing colorful murals — and smiles onto the faces of staff members as they walk into work. She’s a nurse at the hospital, but also an artist. 

What You Need To Know

  • A national chalk challenge for VA hospitals and care enters has come to Buffalo

  • Artists like Nicole Hennessy, who works as a nurse, are taking part

  • The drawings are a way to say thank you to healthcare workers and veterans

  • The drawings may be expanded in the future

“I draw, paint, everything, and I saw the opportunity to come out and try to make some people happy walking into work or out of work and the wall was the perfect canvas, Hennessy said.

She’s responsible for many of these chalk drawings lining the employee entrance — but it’s an initiative by the VA at their hospitals and care centers across the country. 

“It was a national challenge put out by our VA voices team, Engagement Officer Jennifer Gernatt said. "Down in Arkansas, they were doing the chalk challenge and I thought why not bring this here to WNY so we put an email out to all staff and encouraged them to come out here.”

Their Bataiva site is also seeing some inspiring chalk art. In Buffalo, Hennessy, who works in the cardiac cath lab, took this project to heart to make it something fun for her coworkers.

“These were so people could come over and take a picture of themselves and have it so there would be an umbrella and they could hold it and then holding the balloons and butterfly wings behind you," Hennessy said.

She says it’s fun for her and it’s a way for the VA to say thank you. 

“I mean these are very challenging times," Gernatt said. "Staff are coming in and taking care of our veterans which is our priority but they also have families at home they are concerned about so I think it is has been inspiring and motivating and just being thankful and appreciative to them for everything they are doing.”

Hennessy plans to expand the murals, so stay tuned for more to come. 

And even though it’s rained a few times, the drawings are still there.