Foundation for Hospital Art Adds Colorful Charitable Activities to Your Event

August 10, 2014

Trade show and expo organizers and even exhibitors looking to add a fun, no-hassle charitable component to their event, need look no further than the Foundation for Hospital Art.

The Foundation for Hospital Art installs brightly colored murals in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities around the world. The murals are often painted by attendees at events.

This is an activity that all ages can participate in. There are no physical limitations, and no artistic ability is required. If you can color in the lines, you can paint a mural. Whether someone has just three minutes to spare or wants to hang out for longer, their contribution makes a difference. More importantly every single attendee at your event can participate without having to arrive a day early or stay a day late, like so many off-site charitable projects.

The National Conference of State Legislatures managed to knock out four murals each afternoon and morning at their conference in Philadelphia. Microsoft had their clients paint a mural at one of their tech conferences and made it a focal point of their event. Jansssen Pharmaceuticals uses the activity as a way to draw booth traffic and engage their booth visitors in relaxed conversation.

PricewaterhouseCoopers keeps the mural painting stations open all day outside of meeting rooms. During breaks between sessions, attendees can unwind for a few minutes and recharge their mental batteries by doing some creative painting instead of going back to their rooms or getting caught up in email.

Bill Gates even stopped to do some painting when he was a guest speaker at an event. Given that bit of information, event organizers could encourage speakers to head over to the activity area after their presentation and do some painting while they answer attendees’ questions.

The Foundation for Hospital Art has the system down pat, so event organizers have very little to coordinate. Murals typically come in six panels, each panel being 2 feet by 18 inches. Everything is shipped straight to the event, complete with paints, brushes and even plastic aprons so your attendees do not have to worry about getting paint on their clothing. Setup takes less than 15 minutes from the time you open the box.

When the event is over, you simply pack up the panels and send them back to the Foundation for Hospital Art. They take care of the rest including the installation itself and will send you pictures once it is installed.

Scott Feight, executive director of Foundation for Hospital Art, says their organization will take care of finding a facility to accept the murals, but if the event has a specific organization they want to work with, Hospital Art can facilitate that as well.

How much space is needed? Feight recommends at least an 8 foot by 5 foot table so all six panels of the mural can be laid out at one time. That allows for twelve people to work comfortably on the mural at one time. Although he has seen situations where space is at a premium and single panels were placed on highboys.

Compared to many other charitable activities, Hospital Art comes with a low price tag. Premium kits cost just $700 and Feight points out that is tax-deductible for many organizations. With this option, if for some reason your mural is not complete at the end of your event, Hospital Art will finish it for you. They’ll even do some touchups if your attendees had trouble staying within the lines.

The Foundation for Hospital Art was started by Feight’s father, John Feight, in 1984, but the murals had an earlier beginning. Feight’s father was working on his second mural as a volunteer artist at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, when a little girl who was a patient there asked if she could help and John could not say no. Feight said, “that’s when he realized art wasn’t about the art it was about the people.”

John began to simplify his designs and would draw them on the wall and put dots of color to guide anyone who wanted to join in. Anyone turned out to be patients, nurses and the other hospital staff. Over 1000 murals were created this way.

Today, thanks to help from more than 500,000 volunteers, 40,000-plus paintings have been completed for more than 2,000 hospitals and nursing homes in 195 countries.

For more information on the Foundation for Hospital Art, visit them on the Web at www.hospitalart.org

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