Beyond The Traditional Hospital Wall
One of the most impactful PaintFest events I have ever been a part of was in the Spring of 2014 in Evansville, Indiana, where we painted on the walls of a children’s psychiatric hospital. The facility was designated for children dealing with mental illness to be able to live in a safe and stable environment for a few months, while learning effective ways to communicate with others and learn positive ways to deal with difficult situations.
Many people might think our artwork is only donated to traditional hospitals, but our artwork is for everyone!
We drew and painted directly on the children’s bedroom walls. We spent 3 days drawing kites, animals, flowers, fish, and puppies on their walls! I personally feel that this is a great representation of the power of artwork. It is healing and personal to each individual. These children were dealing with real hardship. I was heartbroken over some of the stories. Each child after having seen the artwork, had the same reaction…joy!
One little girl was amazed at the colors of the flowers in her room and was eager to pick out her paint and start filling in the spaces. Another little boy got sport-themed kites on his wall, and loved that the ribbons on the kite were flowing directly over his pillow on his bed.
Each individual child found something they liked most about the drawings, and got to talk about those things with their teachers and counselors. It was such an incredible experience to see these children, dealing with grief and pain on a daily basis, respond so positively to the artwork.
Anna Kathryn Simmons