Posts Tagged ‘art’

COANIQUEM – Safe Niños Part 2

On my third meeting with the students, a small core of three teams remained, each continuing the project through a second term. Each team presented their projects that had matured and were ready to take back to Chile to install.

The first student, Alvin, presented the story and animal characters his team had created to help guide the children through the magic land through which they would be “flying” as they went on their healing journey. Courtesy of ArtCenter DesignMatters The land, complete with a colorful map that resembled a cross between Middle Earth and Candy Land, was, like Chile – long and narrow, flanked with whimsical mountains peopled by the trees and animals of Chile. Courtesy of ArtCenter DesignMattersThe waiting room was to be the entrance to this magical kingdom, and the doors leading to treatment rooms along the long hallways were to be decorated with charming animal characters inviting the young patients in. There was even a passport that the children and their families would receive when they arrived in the waiting room, to be stamped in every treatment room when they received their compression garments, physio- or occupational therapy.

Courtesy of ArtCenter DesignMatters

All Photos Courtesy of ArtCenter DesignMatters

Then students Behnia and Anna presented their solution to motivate the teens, who had been returning to the clinic for years for multiple treatments: a “Teen Zone” flanked by mural-painted shipping containers that were already being used for storage on the site. The area would be covered with colorful sail shades and was made attractive to teens with a dance area and hammocks.

Finally, Nicholas and Dave presented their low and hi tech brightly colored “toys,” designed to help the children participate in physio- and occupational therapy treatments to increase mobility and activity, and reduce stress. The design challenge that they were solving was how to provide the therapists measureable feedback on the progress of treatment, while motiving the kids with musical and visual feedback.

It was a remarkable display, accomplished over a few short months. The passion of the students shone through. An added benefit: the project had inspired the staff, the patients, and their families with pride for COANIQUEM and its cutting edge treatments, giving them happiness and hope for healing, even before the projects were installed. Then, to top it off, one of the students – Alvin, won a grant to complete his project and fly back to Chile to install it, launching his career while doing good in the world. What better outcome could there be!

Lasting Art, Part 1

I felt surreal, floating, like watching myself in a play at the Susan Sebastian Foundation capstone event, celebrating placement of original artwork in virtually every patient room in every hospital in Vermont. It was hard to wrap my mind around the idea that my book, Healing Spaces had helped to inspire this accomplishment. Art gallery

I had been invited to speak at the art show and reception at the Southern Vermont Art Center, celebrating the purchase of the last paintings for the last hospital – the Southwestern Vermont Heath Center (Click HERE to watch the video). The SVHC event organizer, Ashley Jowett picked me up at the lovely old Inn in Manchester where we were staying, and drove me to the venue. It was a rainy day and as we wound our way up the mountain road to the Center, I glimpsed statues of all sorts in the field at the base of the hill and scattered through the dripping woods: a larger-than-life shiny metal horse, oddly shaped metal tubes, a twisted black metal wire sculpture of fighting wolves. photo

We arrived at a clearing in the woods where several frame buildings stood in a circle, and Ashley dropped me off at the center one. Lining the walls of the hallway and on the brightly lit stage in the barn-like auditorium, were the one hundred pieces of original art that had been selected by a jury of artists, healthcare and hospital professionals. Fifty-four will be placed in rooms at SVHC, and the rest were available for sale to benefit the Art Center – a win-win for the patients, their families and the artists of Vermont.

I was in awe. When you write a book you never know the impact it will have – the words could just disappear into the ether. But here was a project that took my words and put them into practice across a whole state. Completely mind-blowing!

To be continued…