An Art Club Event for Continued Healing
CHAP’s popular Art Clubs provide fun and engaging art experiences to children with medical challenges outside of the hospital. Our monthly Art Clubs, held at the CHAP headquarters and in venues throughout the community, give children with medical challenges the chance to channel nervous energy into creative energy and express themselves through art. It is a place where they can focus on something completely removed from their everyday lives of healthcare needs. Art club is not only for the kids, parents and other family members find it to be a great place to find support and share experiences with other families dealing with similar issues and build friendships. Several times per year, our Art Clubs venture out into Portland’s arts community—to see a play or a dance recital, learn about glass blowing, or host a gallery of CHAP’s own young artists’ original work. An enthusiastic turnout never fails!!
In February the theme was printmaking and partnerships. Around 20 Art Clubbers and their families came to a printmaking workshop hosted by Megabolt. Like CHAP, Megabolt believes in the healing power of art and provides sketchbooks for children in hospitals around the nation. Their program is funded by the sales limited edition collaborative prints between kids in the hospital and professional artists. CHAP’s Art Club helped in painting backgrounds for Megabolt’s latest poster designed by the famous poster designer Bungaloo. The Megabolt staff laid out the posters all neat and orderly on the tables…and in no time, and in true CHAP fashion, our Art Clubbers showed them how we do it!! Paint was flying everywhere in brightly colored splatters, hand prints, and huge paintbrush swooshes!! Each artist got to take home a few posters and as many Megabolt sketchbooks they could carry, and the rest of the posters are being sold on Megabolt’s website so they can continue to provide sketchbooks for kids in hospitals.
It meant a lot to the kids and families of CHAP to be able to pay it forward, and know that their art will continue to help bring the healing power of art to other kids and families in crisis. Check out the video attached to catch an exclusive glimpse of what CHAP’s Art Club looks like.
At CHAP, children are known for their creativity and ingenuity—not by their disease, diagnosis or disability.
Children's Healing Art Project (a.k.a. CHAP) continues to have a strong presence at OHSU, a major medical center in Portland, OR. Our non-profit is represented at Doernbecher Children's Hospital three days a week, at the Schnitzer Diabetes Center one day a week and also at OHSU's Knight Center Institute one day a week. Interestingly enough, our work at the Knight Center has CHAP working with more of an adult population. There CHAP offers art supplies to the patients in their patient rooms. With our outreach, we welcome entire families and their guests to be a part of CHAP. For those patients that are feeling well enough, we encourage them to come down to the Family Room where we can set up a more collaborative and communal experience. That being the case, CHAP often gets to work with children and grandchildren at the Knight Center. CHAP believes that venues such as this can take nervous energy and turn it into creative energy. Two of the most popular projects at the Knight Center are watercolors and jewelry making. It is not uncommon to meet first-time jewelers that are pleased and impressed with what they can create from our generous bead collection. Satisfaction and pride abounds when a patient or one of their family members completes a piece, whether it be a necklace or a painting. Sometimes people with no particular exposure to art pick up some clay or some paint and start to realize a whole new side of themselves. It is an honor to watch this unfold within the confines of a hospital setting.
The CHAP program at the Schnitzer Diabetes Center is based out of their waiting area. Since this clinic sees both adults and children, we are able to approach 'children of all ages'. Youngsters that accompany a parent or sibling to their check-up are thrilled and delighted to have the opportunity to interact with CHAP. It is such a well-known and well-regarded program for diabetes. People come from all corners of the state of Oregon and beyond. The paintings that children make are often left behind so that they can decorate the walls of the waiting room. There is nothing better than seeing the look on a child's face when they realize that they are the artist represented on the wall!
Joseph Campbell once said that he believes strongly in "participating joyfully in the sorrows of the world". Children's Healing Art Project does hold this same sentiment. It is very hard indeed to be a patient in the hospital, whether it be for one day or three weeks. Our non-profit strives to provide a positive and joy-filled experience to the people that we meet within the hospital setting. If, for just a couple hours, we can get a child to momentarily leave their worries behind and focus on a simple art project, we have succeeded in our mission. And the relief that this program can provide to parents and caregivers is not to go unmentioned. Despite the intensity of a hospital admission, art - amazingly - can bring great levity to the situation. It is such an outlet to so many people, big and small.
Children's Healing Art Project is pleased to report that we have our 2nd Art Show on display on the pediatric hematology / oncology floor at Doernbecher Children's hospital. There are are 47 pieces in the show, with a focus on paintings. They range in size from 5" x 7" to 20" x 20" acrylic paintings. Through the kindness of NIKE, we have repurposed some of their foamcore marketing materials and used these 'boards' as makeshift canvases. It works out great and is good for the environment too! With the support of the hospital administration, we were able to hold an 'opening reception' in the Play Room of the ward. This is a lovely way to celebrate the artists and their contribution to the show. It really is very satisfying for the artists (in this case, patients and their family members) to see their hard work so prominently displayed. Light refreshments were served and those that were able to gathered in the Play Room. Name cards and the title of the piece are listed so that each artist in the show can be known by first name. With this show, some of the pieces are even for sale! This adds a whole new level of excitement for the young artists! The hospital administration has agreed to let this show be up for two (2) weeks. It is our intention to make this Art Show a frequent occurrence on the floor of 10 South.
Parents Night is another unique offering that CHAP gives to the families on the Pediatric Hematology / Oncology floor. This is run once a week, on a Friday evening from 7 - 9pm. Here, we try to focus a little more on the parents and adult caregivers. The demands are great to be a mother or father to a sick child. We sincerely want to reach out to this amazing group of people and provide them with a creative (a social) outlet. This is held in the hospital classroom to make it feel a little different from the art experience for the kids held in the Play Room during the afternoon.
Thank you for your support of our hospital program at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Schnitzer Diabetes Center and the Knight Center Institute at OHSU. Your support enables our non-profit to bring the healing power of art to children & their families. We all thank you!
Quality of artistic programming
CHAP’s mission: Children's Healing Art Project (CHAP) brings the healing power of art to children in crisis and their families through a mobile team of teaching artists working in partnership with hospitals, community organizations, schools, and local businesses, creating programs through which children are known for their creativity and ingenuity and not by their disease, diagnosis, or disability. At the same time, CHAP meets the community’s need for a space where the general public can engage in art and directly experience how the arts contribute to a vibrant, well-rounded life. In these days of reduced support for the arts and because of the struggling economy, many children have limited or no access to art beyond crayons, paper and play dough; there are few places where children and families can explore a wide range of arts mediums to create a form of self expression that is true to their needs, wishes and abilities.
CHAP has two primary methods of service delivery that further our mission. First, CHAP continues to grow and expand its award-winning in-hospital group and individual arts experiences for sick and disabled children and their families and caregivers. Research shows that incorporating art into a child’s treatment and family support can have real and lasting impact positive health outcomes, well-being and quality of life for all family members. Animation, sculpting, beading, drawing, sewing, painting, mask-making - the options for creativity are ever-evolving based on the needs and interests of the children and families served. In-hospital programs use art as a mechanism to bring children out of isolation and infuse their lives with hope and creativity, thereby enhancing their overall well-being.
Second, the CHAP Art Factory, located in Portland’s Pearl District, is a one-of-a-kind community art space for children and families. The Art Factory is home to CHAP’s interactive arts program for children during the second phase of healing (when a patient is healthy enough to go home), during palliative/hospice care, for loved ones after a child dies, and ongoing for children with chronic illnesses or disabilities. As importantly, the Art Factory is open to children and families from the community, providing regular, ongoing arts opportunities, including scheduled free-art time and a variety of clubs and summer camps. In the past year, CHAP has increased access to the arts for children and teens in the community living with chronic illness/disabilities by developing partnerships with organizations that serve them. Likewise, schools and youth programs visit the Art Factory for field trips where they are led in classes and camps by CHAP’s trained teaching artists, thereby increasing arts appreciation and exposure among students from the general community. The number of fieldtrips by Head Start preschool classes (serving low-income children, many of whom are at-risk) continues to increase because the Art Factory provides a safe place for self-expression, sensory exploration and language development. At the Art Factory, opportunities for children to create, working side-by-side, strengthen our community as we bring people together through the common language of making art. Children and their families learn to see each other for their creativity and not what makes them different.
CHAP determines the quality of its programs through the accomplishment of specific, predetermined programmatic outcomes and metrics (see evaluation section) as well as survey feedback and anecdotal evidence from children, families and partners. CHAP is based on a philosophy of choice, enabling us to follow the needs of the children and families we serve and evolve existing programming to guarantee that it is always engaging, encouraging and inspiring. Our goal is not for each child to create a masterpiece of artwork, but to develop a love of the arts and an ongoing interest in artistic expression through participation. To this end, we measure quality by the wide variety of artistic endeavors in which children engage in a regular and ongoing basis and our ability to evolve to meet their specific needs and wishes. Quality towards this goal is demonstrated through their excitement to return time after time for a new arts adventure. For sick and disabled children, CHAP believes quality is best represented by the ongoing creative explorations of children and their family members, for it is through these times that they increase their understanding of art as a powerful tool for enhancing quality of life despite the terrible situations they face. Here, quality is clearly evident in the powerful images created by children: Lesly’s HappySuns, Gage’s Heaven Worrior, Austin’s Bacon Boy, Luke’s Sinister Sauce or the Pillinator, Nasti Needler and Barf Boy. The healing power of art is a personal experience—we believe quality is best shown in the individualized, unique ways CHAP is able to open up the imagination of children’s lives through the healing power of art.
CHAP’s in-hospital programs reach children and families through deep, enduring partnerships with the hospitals themselves, through which CHAP teaching artists have direct access to patients and their families. Hospital staff refer children directly to CHAP teaching artists and CHAP programs. When a child is to be released from the hospital (or into hospice at home) CHAP teaching artists work with the families to ensure they continue their art support at the Art Factory. CHAP follows up with these families regularly through our VIP Art Club activities.
The Art Factory is the center of our community outreach and youth engagement strategies beyond our hospital and community partnerships (listed above). It is also our gallery, retail showcase and home to Art Club (for chronically ill/disabled children).The Art Factory provides CHAP a significant opportunity for audience development on a daily basis as we embrace the passion of those who walk in our doors and who continue to return and bring their friends, families and coworkers to CHAP. The Art Factory is host to many events, including celebrations, Nurses Nite Out. Child Peace Montessori, Washington School for the Blind, PPS Headstart programs, church youth groups, middle school students and retired moms all come to the Art Factory for workshops and art time. Even still, 30% of the people walking through the door are new to the Art Factory.
CHAP has implemented several upgrades to our evaluation system. Evaluation components now include: (1) Ongoing in-hospital and Art Factory program evaluation, measuring program/ organizational effectiveness through satisfaction surveys and participant tallies. Information is tracked daily, tabulated monthly, overseen by Lead Teaching Artist. (2) Project audits, measuring progress toward specific project-related benchmarks, conducted at six month intervals by the ED, supported by the AD, and overseen by the board chair. (3) Board-reviewed financial statements (bi-monthly) and annual financial audit (beginning FY 2010). CHAP uses these tools to measure progress toward established outputs and outcomes, which include: 8,000, critically/chronically ill children/teens and their family members served; 75% of participants (or their caregivers) will report improvements in mood; 75% will report improved quality of life; 75% will report improved hospital experience. Directors meet with the board bimonthly to review progress toward goals and discuss growth initiatives/course corrections as necessary.
CHAP is currently providing 37 hours of art programming each week to children hospitalized with cancer on DCH 10.This winter was a particularly difficult one for hospitalized children and their families, with serious and extended cold and flu seasons leading to long stretches of isolation. Few children were allowed out of their rooms during this time, so playroom activities were not options for most patients, making CHAP’s art activities even more vital during such long, dark days. This winter, our mission was to go room to room and offer supplies to each child, working with patients and family members individually whenever possible to provide them some much needed attention. The most popular projects included:
Clay for mobiles, superheroes, puppets, sculptures, etc. Sketchbooks, drawing materials, pencils, markersPaints, boards, papers, postersFabric paint for use on shirts, pillowcase, ties, and bagsBeads, beads and more beads for earrings, necklaces, key chains, braceletsSpirit Houses, including new sizes using sticks, copper tubing, paint sticks, skewersCasting Tape for helmets, vases, Easter baskets, bowlsFelt projects: puppets, holiday stockings, banners and hatsThe big excitement this winter was the 10 South Art Exhibit, CHAP’s first official in-hospital art gallery featuring 31 paintings from the oncology patients and their families. The evening included an opening reception and was very well attended by past and current patients and families. The gallery was so successful that CHAP plans to hold them regularly, going forward.
As always, the kids on 10 are crazy about super heroes, especially about dreaming up their own alter egos. Their poignant and captivating images remind us of their bravery and their dream of ending cancer (for everyone) and returning to be ‘normal’ kids again. We’ve included a couple of stories and pictures with this report of recent super heroes, including Electric Man and Rainbow Rosy.
In summary, we’ve provided over 800 hours of arts support to 458 children with cancer and their family members so far this year. Thank you for your continued support of our hospital programs and the healing power of art.
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