Curated is a monthly column about the intersection of arts and medicine.
Walking through George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 2 a.m. a few weeks ago, fatigued by the hassles of travel, I looked up to see a gallery of colorful paintings on the wall. Unaware of who made the paintings or where they came from, I simply stood and admired the beautiful images of birds, flowers and trees. Before long, I forgot about how tired I was, and I almost forgot about the 12 hours it had taken me to get home.
The paintings were part of a larger exhibition of art and creative writing called Making A Mark, presented by The Periwinkle Foundation. All of the artwork is done by patients receiving care for cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. Some of the works are done by siblings of the patients. Making art helps patients and their siblings feel empowered.
Giving kids an opportunity to create art and to express themselves gives them a sense of control,” said Carol Herron, Arts In Medicine Coordinator at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “When they are in the hospital, there are so many constraints on what they can do. This gives them back their control. They get to decide what they want to create.”
This year, local artist Anat Ronen worked with patients at the hospital. A large-scale muralist, Ronen started her art career eight years ago. She helped patients create four different 4 ft. by 4 ft. mixed-media pieces of animals, each made of 16 different 1 ft. by 1 ft. squares.
“The pieces are just beautiful,” Herron said. “We have an owl, a raccoon, a rooster and an eagle. Little, bitty kids were gluing pom-pom balls and sequins and torn paper.”
Making A Mark is a traveling exhibit on display in Houston and around Texas. Viewers who see it are encouraged to send “postcards from the road” with inspirational messages and well- wishes. Postcards and a drop-box are provided at most exhibition sites. To date, 25,000 postcards have been sent back to Texas Children’s artists.
Making A Mark Traveling Schedule
Oct.–Nov. 2016: The Woodlands Children’s Museum, The Woodlands
Through Jan. 2017: City Hall, Houston
Jan.–Feb. 2017: H-E-B San Felipe, Houston
March–April 2017: Three Allen Center, Houston
May–June 2017: McAllen Airport, McAllen
June–Aug. 2017: William P. Hobby Airport, Houston
June–Aug. 2017: George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston
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