Helping Children to Heal with Art.
RxArt is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform barren and stark hospital spaces into places for imagination, whimsy and beauty in order to help children heal through the power of visual art. The organization commissions well-known contemporary artists to change children’s healthcare facilities into places of inspiration. RxArt began 16 years ago and has completed over 40 projects with 60 artists in 15 cities in the United States. There are 6 more major installations being completed in 2017. Their art will reach over 1,000,000 patients and families. RxArt was conceived and founded by Diane Brown in 2001. During a CT scan she comforted and distracted herself by imagining a Matthew Ritchie kaleidoscopic painting, and the idea was born. She wanted to rid hospitals of dreariness by diverting the patients’ attentions and inspire and comfort those undergoing treatment at the same time. It looks like she is succeeding.
One project was in Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. In 2007 Jason Middlebrook completed a site-specific wall painting in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit titled Traveling Seeds, pictured above. Middlebrook is an artist who is interested in man’s relationship with the natural world. In his work for Mount Sinai the plants regenerate by having their seeds carried by the wind and taken elsewhere, continuing the cycle of life. This metaphor represents the bone marrow transfer occurring in this wing of the hospital. The bone marrow goes from one destination to another to continue life.
Some other projects:
Credit: Dan Colen‘s installation at St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Bayside, New York.
Credit: AVAF at La Clinica del Barrio
Credit: Kenny Scharf at King’s County Hospital
RxArt’s online store sells intriguing puzzles, t-shirts and prints designed by the artists of the murals. They also have 5 volumes of a coloring book called Between The Lines. The coloring books are placed in the hospitals to engage the children in treatments and get their minds off what actually happening. Proceeds from the sales go towards paying for more art in hospitals!
Coloring books and Puzzle available at the RxArt store.