An exhibition of over 100 paintings and other works of art created by children living with serious illnesses brought the world of art therapy to public attention last week.
Chai Lifeline Southeast’s first venture into the art world, “Through the Eyes of Our Children,” an exhibit and sale at Gallery Art in Aventura, was part of the organization’s Chai Crafts program, an innovative art therapy endeavor sponsored by the Root Foundation. Chai Crafts provides sick children and their siblings with regularly scheduled arts and crafts activities that offer opportunities for exploring feelings and developing peer friendships.
“Chai Crafts is a place where I can express myself,” said Reena, one of the artists who spoke at the event. “It’s like a fantasy world where I can make art, hang out with people, and just be my awesome self.”
The children were excited to see their art displayed on real gallery walls and even more thrilled as red “Sold” stickers were affixed to their works. “I can’t believe someone bought my painting!” was heard repeatedly throughout the night.
Through the Eyes of Our Children is part of the Empower Art program created by BearGivers, a New York-based organization that gives joy to ill children and empowers the children to give to others as well.
Chai Lifeline Southeast, the regional branch of the international children’s health support network, provides crucial emotional, social and financial assistance that enables families to cope with the diagnosis, treatment and long-term challenges of life-threatening or debilitating chronic medical conditions. All programs are provided to families free of charge and delivered with discretion, sensitivity and compassion.
About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.
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