Art with a Heart

Written by Mari Farthing in the February 2014 Issue

Girl with her ArtAfter stepping from their limousines, they walk down the red carpet. Some are timid; some seasoned professionals who smile and wave and do a little twirl when the flashbulbs start popping. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill Hollywood event—this is Art with a Heart, and those red carpet walkers are patients at the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders in Children. But make no mistake—this is their night.

For twelve years, the Tri Delta Alumnae have sponsored the Art with a Heart event, where artwork created by children with cancer and blood disorders is donated for auction. “The children will be the guests of honor and the center of attention at the auction,” said Jennyfer Guebert, event Co-Chair. Not because of their illnesses—but for what they’ve created.

Creative Power

There’s no question about it: art is powerful. Through art, children are able to develop skills that lead to success. Problem solving and spatial relations, nonverbal communication and sensory stimulation, social interaction, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skill development—when children create art, they develop thinking, feeling, relating and coordinating skills. By participating in art activities, children are improving skills that will help them to reach developmental milestones.

Art DayBeyond that, art therapy is shown to offer respite and reduce the stressful effects of trauma—which is especially important to children who may not yet have developed the skills to process emotional events or verbalize feelings and emotions. By creating art that will be auctioned, children are given a powerful voice in their treatment.

Art with a Heart

All proceeds raised from the auction will benefit the Oklahoma Children’s Cancer Association (OCCA), a nonprofit group that helps children with cancer and their families to handle the emotional and financial issues encountered when a family member has cancer. “Cancer impacts the whole family, and OCCA does a great job organizing various events for the entire family and helping them to cope with the impact of cancer,” explains Guebert.

Supporting the Whole Family

OCCA understands that a cancer diagnosis for one means an impact to the entire family unit. They provide support to families dealing with cancer in a number of ways, including:

            • Keeping treatment waiting rooms stocked with art supplies and volunteers to work with children going through stressful treatments.

            • Providing support to parents through educational materials, gift cards and monthly support groups.

           Young Artist • Hosting group activities for families including bowling, zoo trips

and Thunder game outings.

            • Supporting Camp Cavett, a summer camp for children

with life-threatening illnesses.

            • Providing financial assistance to help with living or medical expenses for families of children

in treatment.

            • Sponsoring college scholarships for current or former patients.

Proceeds raised from the Art with a Heart auction will help to fund all of these programs and more. Because of the important support offered to families, OCCA has been the event’s chosen recipient for the past several years. Last year alone, Art with a Heart contributed over $50,000 to OCCA.

Guests of Honor

“These kids always keep us laughing,” says Guebert. The children are the guests of honor and can take solace in the fact that the attention focused on them is not because of their illnesses but rather because of their accomplishments.

They arrive by limousine, donated by VIP Limos. “They love the ride!” remarks Guebert. Then they hit the red carpet on the way in. “For the new kids, the red carpet walk can be a little intimidating due to the crowd and all the photos,” continues Guebert. “But once they’ve walked it for the first time….” The children love to plan their actions when they meet their public. Guebert recalls one girl who liked to plan what her red carpet performance will include. “One year it was a curtsy, the next a twirl.”

Little Boy ArtistDuring the event, the children continue the fun. “These artists love to check their bid sheets to see how much money they’re raising.” And when the auction is all said and done, they have a chance to meet their silent bidders. “Bidders have told the kids to come find them if they’re outbid—and the kids do!”

In the end, it’s the generosity of the bidders that helps to provide the OCCA programs—but it’s also a great privilege that these bidders have to participate in such an uplifting event.

Art with a Heart will be held February 22, 2014, in the OU Medical Center Children’s Hospital Atrium from 6–9pm. Tickets are $30, available at artwithaheartokc.com. Event sponsorships are also available and begin at $100. Learn more about OCCA at helpkidsfightcancer.org.

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