What’s to Love: Love art at home but hate the mess and clean-up? Simple solution – turn your kids loose inside the Art Factory of the Children’s Healing Art Project. It’s sort of like being inside Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but with paint, brushes, push carts, and colorful smocks. Don’t be afraid to make a masterpiece or a mess. All the while, know that your dollars are helping fund an innovative nonprofit that helps ailing children and their families.
Many kids who are struggling with their health and possibly hospitalized for long periods of time, need a great deal of support from their families, friends, doctors, nurses, and the community. It warms my heart to see an organization like the Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) whose members and volunteers unselfishly give their time and resources to brighten the day of these kids who are often facing challenging times. What’s so cool is that CHAP brings light into kids’ lives through art and focuses on the power of artistic expression to encourage healing.
In their own words, “CHAP brings the healing power of art to children in crisis and their families with a mobile team of teaching artists working in Portland’s children’s hospitals. CHAP has created art classes tailored to the needs of the children we serve in our partner facilities: Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and Shriners Hospital for Children. In 2009, CHAP worked with over 10,000 children and their families.” (source) In addition to mobile events in area hospitals, CHAP also takes its art services to the Knight Cancer Institute and the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Center. Here are a couple clips. The first is of our time spent at their “Art Factory” for a birthday party. The second is a video clip supplied by CHAP – a wonderful production call “Leslie: a Celebration of Life.”
Caveats: If there is a birthday party at the same time of your visit, things might get a bit crowded. They have a collection of smocks, but I would recommend bringing your own from home, if you have some.
Make sure you wear clothes on which you wouldn’t mind a big paint blot! Even if you’re wearing a smock (kids too), you’ll probably get paint on something you’re wearing. One of the rules is no painting on the floor, so the paint won’t end-up on shoe bottoms. However, when a kid is moving around with a paint brush in his/her hand, it’s inevitable that some paint ends-up on the floor.
Distance from Portland: Downtown in the Pearl District – Google Map
Recommended Ages: Best for kids 8 and younger; however, kids of all ages who enjoy art will have a good time at CHAP.
Parental Stress Factor: I’ve never been to a mobile event, so this pertains directly to their facility in the Pearl District. As the place filled-up a bit, the kids got a bit more rambunctious, and it got harder to keep our two boys focused on art and not running around with other boys trying to bring down the cardboard fort! Their staff was doing a good job of keeping everyone in line, but parents are going to have to help out by watching their kids.
Physical Difficulty: Totally accessible and fun for all!
Family Fun Factor: If you have younger kids, this is a great family activity! This will add a little flavor to the usual activities you do as a family. Plus, know that your money goes to support a good cause.
Pet Friendly: No pets
Weather Considerations: Excellent rainy day activity!
Insider Info: When there, make sure to check-out all the clothes, shoes, etc., that have been donated by various companies including Nike, Adidas, and Columbia Sportswear. All the proceeds go to CHAP, and the prices are CHEAP! Seriously, I bought a nifty shirt for $10.
CHAP is currently located in Portland’s Pearl District with many options for food close by including: Bridgeport Brewing, Hot Lips Pizza, and The Laughing Planet Cafe.
Family Tips: Definitely bring a full change of clothes including shoes and socks. To help kids stay focused, I recommend bringing in something you want to paint or working on a family project while you’re there.
This is a great spot for a birthday party and the money goes directly at funding teachers and supplies for mobile events. Give the staff a call for more information.
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