Home » Jonatan Lopez creates “Totem Pole for the Animal Kingdom” for the 2009 Making a Mark® Art Exhibition
October 12, 2009 – Texas Children’s Hospital
Throughout the year, cancer center patients are invited to draw artwork in the clinic and inpatient settings. Many patients draw pictures of home, family, friends and some even draw a representation of their illness.
This therapeutic method is part of the Arts in Medicine program at Texas Children’s Cancer and has garnered world-wide attention. Making a Mark®, an exhibition featuring the work of patients with cancer and blood disorders was featured on the Texas Children’s Hospital auxilary bridge during the month of September. After leaving Texas Children’s, a portion of the exhibit will travel to three other Texas locations and the Children’s Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth.
This year’s display featured over 370 pieces of artwork, the largest exhibit in TCH history.
Sponsored by the Periwinkle Foundation, this exhibit showcases art created by children ages 3 to 22 who have been touched by cancer and blood disorders. A panel of judges selected blue ribbon pieces of art in three groups they felt most effectively represented Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Making A Mark® provides artistic and creative writing opportunities for children undergoing treatment at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Each year, professional artists and writers, with the help of volunteers, work with the patients and their siblings. Additionally, The Periwinkle Foundation provides various types of cultural entertainment throughout the year. More than 380 children participate each month, free of charge.
The program takes place in the waiting room and the infusion area of the clinic and provides patients and siblings something to look forward to when coming in for treatment. More importantly, it is an important outlet for expressing feelings and fears about the cancer treatment process. As a result, the children develop coping skills and in a situation where they feel that everything is out of their control, they are totally in control of their art and writing.
Each year a professional artist is invited to work with the children on a specific project that is in their area of expertise. Painted canvases, a thousand origami butterflies, an art car, and mosaics that became columns and tables are just some of the pieces that have been created in the past. The goal is to provide the children with a project that is artistically unique from any other art experiences they have had in the past. The children learn new ways to be creative and how to work as a team towards one beautiful end piece.
This year, MAM’s featured artist is Jonatan Lopez who has worked with Texas Children’s Cancer Center patients and their siblings to create “Totem Pole for the Animal Kingdom.” This beautiful metal sculpture symbolizes respect and appreciation for nature by observing a Native American belief that self-insight is gained through identifying with your totem animal. Jonatan had patients draw their favorite animal, helping them to connect with nature and unleash their imagination. These drawings were transformed into the metal totem pole sculpture.
“Asking the kids to draw their favorite animal meant asking them to connect with nature and to unleash their imagination by means of artistic expression. With the help of many volunteers from The Periwinkle Foundation, we collected more than a hundred drawings to later transform into metal sculptures for the creation of the totem pole. In a way, the kids became the designers and I simply became the producer.”
Past featured artists have helped the children create a parade cow covered with colorful “designer” Band-Aids, origami butterflies hung on sheer fabric panels, a “spirit horse” quilt with fabric hand-stamped by the children, and an upholstered bed designed by an artist and painted by the children.
The highlight of the Making a Mark® art program is the month long exhibit in the fall of each year at Texas Children’s Hospital. Most of the submissions to this judged show come from Texas Children’s Cancer Center, but clinics all over the world are invited to participate. The art that the children created with the professional artist is the centerpiece of the event. Many of the young artists attend the opening and take pride in discussing their art with guests from the Houston community.
To learn more about the program and exhibit, call 832-882-1455.
Pictured: “Totem Pole for the Animal Kingdom” by Jonaton Lopez featuring drawings from patients. Each piece on the totem represents a patient’s drawing
The Periwinkle Foundation develops and provides programs that positively change the lives of children, young adults and families who are challenged by cancer and other life threatening illnesses and are cared for at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Each year more than 4,000 children are touched by Periwinkle programs Camp Periwinkle, Camp YOLO, Family Camp, the Long Term Survivor Program and the Arts & Creative Writing Program which culminates each year in a traveling exhibition of art by children touched by cancer and blood disorders. Through camping, recreational and arts programming, The Periwinkle Foundation provides opportunities for these special children and their families to heal emotionally, lead fuller lives and become stronger survivors. With the generous help of our friends and supporters in the community, The Periwinkle Foundation changes lives for life. Learn more at www.periwinklefoundation.org.