Bring healing art to children in medical crisis

by Children's Healing Art Project (CHAP)
Nov 21, 2011

Hospital Updates

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!


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Organization Information

Children's Healing Art Project (CHAP)

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Children's Healing Art Project
Portland, OR United States
$72,330 raised of $75,000 goal
709 donations
$2,670 to go
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