Brain Pickings

RxArt: Healing Children Through Contemporary Art

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What blood transfusions have to do with modern art and coloring between the lines.

The relationship between art and healing has been the subject of increasing interest for scholars and researchers. On an anecdotal, intuitive level, hardly any of us can deny the uplifting effect looking at a beautiful piece of art can have. Nonprofit RxArt aims to harness this effect in children’s healthcare facilities by placing contemporary art in patient, procedure and exam rooms in an effort to transform these sterile environments into comforting havens, inspiring healing and hope in kids, their families and the tireless medical staff that takes care of them.

RxArt works with some of today’s most exciting artists, including Will Cotton, Ryan McGinness and many more, who create bespoke artwork for each facility. From a CAT scanner by Jeff Koons to Jason Middlebrook‘s homage to nature in a bone marrow transplant unit to a clever light painting by Mary Temple in a center for blood disorders, RxArt can be found in over 18 hospitals across New York, Boston, Tennessee, Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco and Chicago. Though they’re currently focusing on children’s hospitals, they’re looking to eventually expand to outpatient facilities and VA hospitals.

“The artists we work with really speak to the audience, they really create art that’s site-specific and appropriate but also not so serene that it becomes boring.” ~ Nicki Sebastian, Director of Operations

Our favorite RxArt initiative, however, is the absolutely wonderful Between The Lines coloring book, currently in its second volume. (Volume 1 sold out completely in no time.) The book features over 50 original line drawings by some of today’s most celebrated contemporary artists, including Takashi Murakami, Ed Ruscha and Cynthia Rowley, plus a series of delightfully vibrant stickers designed by Nate Lowman and Mickalene Thomas.

The best part? 100% of proceeds from the book fund the RxArt hospital projects. So go ahead and grab a copy before Volume 2 sells out as well — it’s a rare opportunity not only to support the healing and well-being of tiny humans, but also to own something that will no doubt be a treasured collector’s item on day.

RxArt is also currently looking for a volunteer iPad developer, so if you happen to be a talented code-slinger, here’s your chance to use your powers for good.

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