The Children’s Hospital at OU Medicine kicked off a year-long artist-in-residence program Wednesday.
The hospital brought in local artist Ginna Dowling to help critically ill children cope through self-expression and hands-on art, according to an OU Medicine press release. The program will last throughout the year, allowing both patients and parents to participate in different artistic mediums.
Dowling is an established local artist, with work in monotype, serigraphy, etching and storytelling, according to the press release.
“It felt like a really natural match for us to start working with her,” said Sara Jacobson, director of Child Life and Volunteers at the hospital. “She had such a great reputation and had such a fun way to get kids engaged.”
The Children’s Hospital currently has a music therapist on staff, a number of child-life specialists, multiple play spaces and a facility dog program.
“We don’t have a really robust art program where kids have opportunities to do hands-on, so that has been our focus area for the year,” Jacobson said. “Working with (Dowling), we feel like that’s a good way to highlight it to the community and let people know how valuable working creatively and having opportunities to experience ... while they’re healing.”
Dowling will work with the children through April, Jacobson said, accumulating a large collection of art that will be presented in a gallery in May or June. They also will create a tapestry by compiling images throughout the year.
“There’s going to be the good, the bad and difficult all woven into this tapestry of these different images we get throughout the year, and that’s pretty reflective of the hospital every day,” Jacobson said. “It’s one huge community.”