Aug 17, 2011

Children's Healing Art Project August 2011 Update

Above Coping Partners with the CHAP Art Team
Above Coping Partners with the CHAP Art Team

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.

Above Coping/CHAP at DCH
Above Coping/CHAP at DCH
May 31, 2011

CHAP Second Progress Report Spring 2011


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, markers
Paints, boards, papers, posters
Fabric paint for use on shirts, pillowcase, ties, and bags
Beads, beads and more beads for earrings, necklaces, key chains, bracelets
Spirit Houses, including new sizes using sticks, copper tubing, paint sticks, skewers
Casting Tape for helmets, vases, Easter baskets, bowls
Felt projects: puppets, holiday stockings, banners and hats

The 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.

Teachers at DCH
Teachers at DCH

Feb 28, 2011

CHAP Progress Report February 2011

Mr Earthquake
Mr Earthquake

In 2010, CHAP provided healing arts experiences to 6,062 critically/chronically ill and disabled children and family members last year. CHAP also provided over arts programming to over 5,000 children from the community through field trips, camps, workshops and open art times.  Generous donations and funding has allowed CHAP to continue and expand art programming at in and out of the local hospitals.  The following are just a few examples of the excitement that 2010 brought.

  • CHAP hired a third teaching artist for Friday afternoons at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital (DCH) oncology unit. This new position enabled CHAP to offer paint canvases to children for the first time. Their paintings were displayed in CHAP’s first in-hospital art gallery in February, 2011 and their work will be shown, and evolve monthly, in Portland’s First Thursday art walks Portland’s arts district. This Mobile Art Gallery demonstrates the courage, humor and ingenuity of our young artists and their family members by bringing their art to the public to engage, inspire and encourage our community to see the children for the art they create.
  • CHAP continues to expand the arts programming at the Schnitzer Diabetes Center and the Knight Cancer Institute with programs at our outreach facility the CHAP Art Factory, enabling CHAP to further reach out to populations of critically and chronically ill children, teens and young adults.
  • Children were given the opportunity to dream up super heroes for the CHAP Children’s Cancer Cartoon Network.  Some of their creations were Super Baby, Rockin Rosey,Mr Earthquake, Super Snow Guy, Mood Swing Lizzie, and many others have joined the ranks of Bacon Boy, Sinister Sauce and Heaven Warrior.  This particular form of self-expression inspires the children to get really creative dreaming up their alter-egos.
  •  Parent’s Night continues to be a time of creativity, healing and social support for parents of children with cancer at DCH.  As one mother said, “My life is torn into so many painful pieces, I would like to put the pieces together and make something beautiful.” Our parents group focuses on providing that opportunity to parents each week, so in turn they are able to go back and provide their families with the care and support they need.

Thank you so very much for your incredible support. Your generosity enabled us to bring comfort, laughter and creativity to children, teens and their families during dark, painful and frustrating days. We are grateful for the opportunity to do this work and humbled by your support of CHAP. 

Super Snow Guy
Super Snow Guy
Teacher + DCH Student
Teacher + DCH Student


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