Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Among the Top Ten Days

When I think about the best ever days in my life, I of course think about the day I married David, the day our son, Jake, was born, the day he graduated, days that aren't any particular day but doing things like being on the boat with my Dad or working on a project with my Mom, and playing music. A few rare best days don't really revolve around family. Sort of a best and worst day ever was September 11, 2005 - the day the Arsenal Center for the Arts opened - a project I had worked on at that time for 8 years finally culminating in a gala opening - it was also the day David was hospitalized for a heart attack and had two stints put in the ticker. I swear it wasn't because I was making him wear a tuxedo to the opening!

When I posted the last entry in this blog, I had no idea that I would have a special opportunity to chalk up another "Best Day", another cherished memory to look back upon with fondness and gratitude that I have been always so truly blessed. The little boy I talked about in that post and his amazing family came into town to visit their caregivers at Boston Children's Hospital, and see the artwork that they so generously donated. On Saturday, I got to meet Michael and his delightful big sister, Katie, and his awesome parents, Denise and Chris. His story was featured on several local news stations:



I am so grateful for the role I played in this amazing story, and truly blessed to have met this family. Above, Michael and I talk about the doggie cut-outs below the chair rail, part of the installation I created that was donated by his family to Children's Hospital.

Here is the finish for the Endocrinology art. I love my little ring-tailed lemur the best, but don't tell the tiger.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Art for Children's Hospital Boston

My favorite client hands down is the Boston Children's Hospital. I get to work with really cool people like Betty Bothereau of L'Attitude Gallery, Newbury Street, Boston, who is an art consultant for CHB and other facilities, and Jessica Finch, who manages the "Gifts of Art" program, and the "Art for Kool Kidz" artists - like me - who create art for the facility.

I am working on a new piece for the Endocrinology Department, a growth chart that will appeal to the many different children of all ages that are treated there. I just got the approval for this piece today, and I am so excited to start work on it. I have pictured the rough here right, In the Rainforest (pen and ink, but the finished art will be acrylic and Caran d'Ache on Panel). Though the piece I am creating will be 30" x 30", it will be hi-res scanned and then printed on a type of vinyl wall covering and measure about 6' square when installed. It will be adhered to the wall and covered with gridded plexiglass. Patients getting measured will stand against the tree, and their doctors can mark with a China pencil or dry erase marker their height and measurements of their arms outstretched. It will be a really cool tool in their treatment and recovery.

Creating art for children and their families is so important to me. I have had a chance to participate and create art for many different departments and it makes me feel good that I am producing art that has a real importance to families who are in need of comfort and a reassuring, colorful place to see that their children through a time of need.

Recently, a family with a desperately ill child in another state were told that there was not much that could be done for their child. This toddler had a rare heart defect that local specialists knew of no treatment or cure for. The parents refused to take no for an answer and give up hope. They turned to the internet to see if there was by some small chance any doctor who had a new treatment or procedure, and sure enough they found a doctor at CHB that was performing such a procedure. The family stayed in Boston at the Ronald McDonald House for the duration of the child's treatment and recovery, and became very familiar with the beautiful art at Children's. As the child's strength improved, he was able to venture farther with his mom and dad, and grew to love many colorful artworks throughout the hospital. Finally, he was given the green light to go home, and his parents took him to the airport.

The child, who just a few months previous has been listless and ill, was now acting like any healthy toddler would - climbing over everything in sight at the airport, including my Art Rocks! rocking chair installed at the Kidport, the Once Upon a Time in Massachusetts chair created with help from my Watertown Middle School Mural Club kids. Filled with awe at how healthy and alive their child was, the parents wondered how they could thank the staff and physicians at Children's. The mother noticed my name on the chair, and remembered seeing my art at the hospital. When she got home, she contacted me through my website. Her e-mail actually went to my son, Jake, who is my webmaster, first. Jake was really moved by this mother's request - could they commission me to create an artwork to thank the hospital? Even as I write this, my heart is again stirred by this particular commission. Her son loves dogs and butterflies, so through Betty and Jessica, I created several artworks for the Cardiology Department. One of those panels, Doggies Love Music I, acrylic on MDF panel, 30" x 30", is pictured right.

My art may never hang in a museum, I may never be a household name in the art world, but I know without question that my art makes a difference daily to people who all need a little miracle in their life. It has great meaning to me.