rt cares, and art heals.
That’s the idea behind the Artcares for Kids program, a nonprofit housed under the umbrella of the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, and also behind artist April Davis’ recent donation of three paintings to the oncology wing at Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami.
It may not have happened without the Key Biscayne Rotary Art Festival this March, when Dorian Rosen from Artcares for Kids met Davis, who was displaying at the festival, and told her about the organization and its “Art on the Walls” project.
Art on the Walls aims to brighten up Holtz’s oncology wing and enhance the time patients and their families must spend at the hospital, and it’s a crucial part of Artcares’ overall mission, according to Rosen. “Artcares creates art with the patients as a healing therapy and allows them to forget what is going on with their health and to express their inner joy and creativity,” she explained, noting program volunteers have been working at Holtz twice a week for three years.
In that time, they’ve built Art on the Walls and contributed to a happier, brighter environment.
“Art on the Walls visually enhances the unit in an uplifting manner for the patients and the staff, creating a positive effect for all,” Rosen said. “We started a tropical rainforest theme three years ago with a hand-drawn and painted mural that the children can interact with while viewing the humorous birds and animals in the forest.”
The walls also feature paintings Artcares has collected from students at Miami-Dade College, Westminister Christian Middle School, Design and Architecture Senior High, Gulliver Preparatory Academy, Key Biscayne Community Center art classes and Andrea Prado from Key Biscayne, plus many independent local artists.
On top of that, Artcares for Kids volunteers painted a large tropical rainforest scene and had the piece reproduced to hang in patients’ individual rooms.
“They can look at an uplifting, colorful painting while in the rooms,” Rosen noted.
And equally impressive: the hall by the wing’s playroom is home to the Kids’ Art Walk, where Artcares has helped display framed artwork by the oncology pediatric patients themselves.
“They can admire their work, and the families can enjoy it when they return to the hospital for their ongoing treatments,” Rosen said.
It has created a vibrant, tropical-themed environment, and as soon as Rosen met Davis and saw her Art Festival booth on the Village Green this spring, she knew her work would fit right in.
“I had always admired April’s paintings, and since Artcares created the tropical rainforest theme for the Pediatric Oncology Wing, her work fit in perfectly,” Rosen said.
Indeed, Davis specializes in bright paintings that depict everything from tropical cityscapes and landscapes to birds of paradise and parrots to harbors and oceans.
Her website, www.aprilwdavis.com, conveys through words and images how the Jupiter-based artist depicts the tranquility and brilliance of her surroundings.
Shortly after Rosen introduced herself to Davis at the festival, presenting her with an Artcares brochure, the two started emailing back and forth to set a date for Davis to visit Holtz. The trip turned out to be even more special than Artcares volunteers had imagined:
“When she came, she had her paintings with her,” Rosen said.
“After she saw the needs of the oncology wing, with its drab, empty walls in the nurses’ station, she proceeded to donate paintings for three walls.”
The nurses’ station now displays an 8-foot-long triptych titled Ocean Paradise with Parrots; the wall behind the station is adorned with The Courtship, and The Wedding brightens up the end of the oncology wing’s front hallway.
“She is the most generous artist, and Holtz is overwhelmed by her donation,” Rosen remarked. “The nurses are always smiling when I ask them how they like their new paintings.”
For more on Artcares for Kids, visit www.artcaresforkids.org or look for the organization on Facebook. To donate, go to the KBCF website at www.keybiscaynecommunityfoundation.org.
back to school
After encounter at KB Art Festival, artist donates through local charity
rt cares, and art heals.