My Hospital Art Internship Experience

On my first day at the Foundation for Hospital Art, I met all of my fellow interns. We asked all of the basic questions like “What school do you attend? “and “What’s your major?” After I told them “Finance”, they all had confused looks on their faces. They asked me why I was doing an internship with an art organization, and I could not give a clear answer. After eight amazing weeks with an incredible organization, I still cannot answer that question, but I can tell you why I am glad I made a choice that went against the norm. I got to meet a group of selfless, caring, and loving people who work every day to help make hospitals brighter. Every day, I got to wake up and work on something that would inspire happiness.  It was so much more than a summer internship.  What surprised me was that I ended up learning so much about business. Scott Feight, the Executive Director, taught me about what it takes to run a non-profit and as well as shared his experience in the corporate sector with General Electric. I was able to talk with many young professionals working in all parts of the business. A fantastic part of the internship involved hosting large community service events in Texas. I worked with lots of hard-working people and witnessed over 700 people paint art that would be sent around the country to benefit patients.  

The PaintFest events we led were great opportunities to meet wonderful people, and I found that I was able to connect the most with people when painting with them. One morning, two other interns and myself visited the Atlanta Mission, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness. There were only a few people painting at first, so I sat down with someone and began painting with them. I asked some questions and got a couple of nods but no verbal response, so I assumed that he did not want to talk. I quickly learned that he was unable to talk but communicated through nonverbal gestures. Although we could not communicate perfectly, we were able to connect by painting together. Experiences like these demonstrate the power of the process of painting and art itself.

I am incredibly grateful to everyone I met and worked with during the eight weeks. I especially want to thank all of the volunteers that donate their time to our mission. I am glad I was able to work for an organization with such great people and purpose.  

Carson Madsen