Art: Worth An Ounce of Prevention

Still Quadrant, ©2011, H. Hunter, 18" x 18," Monoprint and Collage

I'm sitting at my desk at the Children's Hospital here in Sacramento. When I'm here, I'm firmly in my role as an art therapist, but every so often this role gets mixed up with my role as an artist.

I often feel like I lead a kind of double life, shifting internally between the person who keeps a curious eye open to composition and the way colors play against one another, and the person whose job it is to keep watch with another; one whose life has been compromised by illness, accident or abuse. I offer them the time and space, safety and support so that they can use the art materials and allow whatever wants to emerge to appear. We welcome the result as just right, true to itself, perfect.

Every so often, my roles get jumbled--like this week. I had been asked by our director of Patient Care Services to participate in an art benefit to help raise money for a local chapter of the Child Abuse Prevention Center. She wanted to create an event filled with art and combined with California vintners, to help support this worthy cause. For anyone unfamiliar with the impact of this issue, the Center's site posts an astonishing list of statistics:

Every minute in America a child is reported abused or neglected...One in five is sexually abused. Half a million children are reported abused in California each year. Every day in California at least one child dies as a result of abuse or neglect.

Each one is one too many.

These are startling and disturbing statistics and what brings these numbers home to me is the entry of one of these small "ones" into our playroom,  carried in the arms of a nurse. The care and treatment that these children receive is superb and beyond that, the love that surrounds them is priceless. So many arms are there to soothe, protect and hold them as their injuries heal and the natural resilience of each child takes hold once again.

I didn't think twice before I said yes, because the request touched my heart. I knew that here was a way to give back.

I'll be showing my artwork with a number of excellent artists: Chris Beer, Mark Bowles, Beth Rommel, Andrew Maurer, Jane Mikacich, Wendy Nugent, Diane Poinski, and Stacey Vetter. I hope you'll take a moment to reflect upon this issue and consider what you might do in your own area to help. If you're going to be around the Sacramento area, I warmly invite you to the Pour for Prevention event on Saturday, August 27th from 6-9 p.m. For more information and details, click here.