The Gift of Art

How do you feel walking into a strange place? Into a hospital or care facility? For most people it can be an overwhelming and possibly fearful experience. Throughout my years as an artist with FFHA, I have seen the positive impact our art has had on the patients, staff and families who encounter our art.

I have seen a vibrant young man just diagnosed with a brain tumor standing in the corner full of anger, frustration and nervousness. He began to paint a ceiling tile and his doctor joined him. He was the last one to leave the event, smiling and thanking us for all we were doing.

I have seen an older gentlemen waiting in the ICU/CCU sitting area who tells us his life’s story as he helps us roll paint onto the wall, creating a sunset over a lake scene; a mother walking the hallways in South Korea stopping to gaze at the fish or jungle scene as she rocks her child; a brain and spinal injury patient who doesn’t want to leave her room for therapy, but joins in the painting and laughter of fellow patients, family and staff when she enters a room that has been transformed with music and color.

I have seen a family in Brazil who crowded around a small bed, enjoying a respite from caregiving, paint a soccer ball, cat or parrot on the wall; a family paint a rainbow over the bed frame with smiles as they transform the room with color and hope; a family in a New Orleans waiting room, hoping for a good report from the doctor, leave their seats to paint hummingbirds and flowers on a nearby wall.

I have seen stressed nurses, doctors and staff who had the opportunity to sit down for a short time, resting their mind and body as they create something beautiful; the staff at a shelter for abused children who smile as they see a child talking to the fish as they walk down the hall; the many facility workers who hang our artwork and replace blank, white ceiling tiles with colorful butterflies who receive smiles of gratitude in their effort to transform the space.

No matter where I go, I see the endless gift of hope and joy that art brings. It really is true. We can brighten our world, one painting at a time. I hope you will join me.

– Barbara Banta