Hospital art tour gives hope to cancer patients

It all started in 1973 when John Feight volunteered to paint a wall mural at Northside Hospital. While working on the mural, a young patient asked Feight if she could help him paint. That gave Feight the idea that art can give comfort and love and ultimately planted the seed for the Foundation for Hospital Art.

The Atlanta-based nonprofit devoted more than 30 years to bringing comfort to hospital patients by transforming sterile hospital walls with vibrant paintings created by patients, their loved ones and hospital employees.

“Hospitals have been places so focused on providing care and diagnoses, that they often lose sight of providing an environment conducive to healing. We believe that art can play a big role in healing. Art can transform a person’s attitude. It can provide hope,” said Scott Feight, executive director.

To spread hope through art, the foundation kicked off its first “PaintFest America” tour stopping at cancer facilities in 50 cities in 50 days. During each PaintFest America event, participants will paint paneled canvas murals in one cancer treatment hospital per city per day

The tour stopped at Atlanta’s Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University on July 12. Patients and survivors came together to paint murals for their hospitals, and one special state-specific panel that will be incorporated into a larger, 50-state “Stars of Hope” mural to be unveiled in New York on the final tour stop.

“Winship Cancer Institute was honored to be representing Georgia for PaintFest America and the Foundation for Hospital Art’s efforts,” said Diane Cassels, chief administrative officer ofWinship Cancer Institute of Emory University. “It was important to bring patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals together because we are not just there to treat their cancers, but we also care about their quality of life and we are a place that can provide synergy for living with cancer.”

With more than one million volunteers, the Foundation for Hospital Art has donated 44,000 paintings to more than 4,000 health care facilities located in 195 different countries.

Foundation for Hospital Art is always seeking volunteers to continue spreading hope through art by offering PaintFest kits to corporations and individual organizations interested in hosting their own event.

“The day of cancer diagnosis is one of the darkest days of anyone’s life,” said Feight. “Our communities need our hospitals to be places that are comforting and offer hope, and we believe that art is a way to do this.”

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