A lot of ‘heART’: Non-profit brings creativity to hospitalized kids

Multnomah County

The Children's Healing Art Project provides the kids with art supplies and projects

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Even as more people are vaccinated for the coronavirus, many charities are still getting creative to stay afloat in the pandemic.

That includes a Portland non-profit whose mission is bringing creativity and fun to kids in the hospital. Kids create art while in various local hospitals with supplies coming from the Children’s Healing Art Project — also known as CHAP.

In pre-pandemic times, CHAP volunteers could take the art directly to the children.

Kids and CHAP volunteers work on an art project. (Courtesy: CHAP)

Register for CHAP’s Valentine’s Day Card Making workshop

“We roll our art cart through hallways filled with art supplies and we spend time with children and the families because it’s important to be with families, too,” CHAP Executive Director Barb McDowell explained. “And they get to make art — they get to take a break from everything that’s going on in their lives.”

McDowell says the pandemic obviously changed everything. The folks at the CHAP art studio had to come up with a way to get their art supplies to the kids who need a bright spot in what can be a long hospital stay.


Dulcinea and her HeART Box: child using materials from her BIt of Everything HeART Box. (Courtesy: CHAP)

“We thought very carefully about our mission, bringing the healing power of art to children and families,” McDowell said.

She says they started making kits of supplies called “HeART Boxes” to send to area hospitals and community partners for kids aged 6 to 14. Then to raise money to keep up their mission, they began selling the kits to the general public. Now — just in time for Valentine’s Day– they have “Little HeART Boxes” for children ages 3 to 6.

According to McDowell, research backs up their mission at CHAP.

“There’s a growing amount of research that says that making art can help lower anxiety, reduce stress,” she said. “It’s a wonderful distraction and can actually reduce the need for pain medicines.”

To order a “Little HeART Box” or find out more about CHAP, visit their website. CHAP is also hosting an art supply drive, find out how to donate here.

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