Arts for Life program. They call themselves "Art Teachers", but it should really be "Art Therapists". They come to the room (if your child isn't allowed to leave it... as is our case) and sit with you and do a project. In our room, we haven't totally gone for the pre-planned projects - you can imagine why. But the art teachers understand our views, some of the interns even share them. So they come in and present the project and then Lindsay does whatever project she creates. Sometimes she does no project at all. She sits and chats happily with the "teacher" as she does a project. Sometimes I do a project and Lindsay makes the creative decisions. This is most common when she's not feeling great. She picks the color of paper, the shape of beads, but may not go through the mechanical of cutting, gluing, etc. Often, though, when she starts making choices, she perks up, sits up and the mood changes. It's amazing it leads naturally into Lindsay taking over. The cutting and pasting (her two favorites) begin. And then, somtimes, she just creates. One day the project was a woven valentine heart. We cut rectangles, triangles, circles, and squares instead. Well, I made a heart - but she created all the shapes you can imagine.
The constant availablity of art has been an inspiration to me. I have always had a desire to paint. To spread paint and create colors on canvas. Even when I was at my most creative - probably in high school - I never took art classes or workshops and therefore always felt I didn't "know" how to paint. This hospital, this Institution, has, surprisingly lifted my creative block. I started buying canvases of all sizes and bringing them to the hospital. We already had some acrylics from my mom and I got more from the AFL teacher. So I started painting. And Lindsay joined in. The pressure to paint something that looks like something or that looks good or artsy or whatever, was gone. I was just helping my daughter to slice through the boredom of another day in the hospital. And as a result, we have made beautiful, fabulous art.
The best thing about canvas (rather than paper) is I have art that I can hang directly on the wall - no need for an art portfolio or to clutter up the already cluttered refrigerator. Also, no need to buy expensive pieces or more affordable "art" mass produced in China for my walls. I have my decor, my child's keepsakes, and my creative outlet all in one.
I think some of the hospital staff and even art teachers were surprised at our comfort level in turning a 3 year old loose with acrylics. But really, who cares if you get some paints on hospital sheets? So we paint a little each day. Then paint on top of the previous day's painting. And after three or four days, we have a family painting worthy of MOMA. At least, in my biased opinion.