Hospital Programs

Each week, CHAP’s teaching artists lead nearly fifty hours of healing art adventures for children and their families in medical centers and hospitals.

CHAP was founded in 2006 by visionary artist, Frank Etxaniz, and visionary philanthropist, Charlie Swindells.

In the beginning, Frank visited children at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s 10 South unit, which is in-patient hematology & oncology. He went from room to room with a suitcase full of art supplies and his own boundless imagination.

Over the past decade, the program has grown to include nearly 50 hours per week of creative services on the OHSU campus, Shriners Hospital for Children, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, and Salem Health provided by a team of dedicated teaching artists and specially-trained CHAP volunteers.

CHAP serves:

  • Hospitalized children and their families on Doernbecher 9 and 10 South.
  • Families waiting for news of their loved ones from the pediatric surgical units on Doernbecher’s 8th floor.
  • Children before and after their appointments in the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center and the Pediatric Neurosurgery outpatient clinic.
  • Parents, siblings, and children at Shriners Hospital’s halo unit.
  • Children and families counting the minutes in the waiting room of St. Vincent’s Pediatric Specialty Care Unit.

For the first time in CHAP’s history, we recently launched art services outside the Portland-metro area at Salem Health’s Pediatrics, NICU, and Mother/Baby units.

Because our partner facilities attract both local patients and those from outside the Portland area, CHAP serves children and families from across Oregon, SW Washington, Northern California, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and beyond.

The children and families we serve are never charged. Our in-hospital healing art programs are funded through contributions from our partnering medical facilities, as well as donations and grants from caring individuals and Foundations.

Every CHAP art interaction is tailored to the needs, wishes, and abilities of each child, bringing them out of isolation and infusing their lives with choice, purpose, and self-expression. Our teaching artists have developed a broad repertoire of art projects using hospital-approved materials for kids and teens who are immune-suppressed. Adaptive brushes and other tools are incorporated for those with dexterity issues. If a child is in isolation or not well enough to leave their hospital bed, CHAP artists deliver art supplies to their room and sit with them as they enjoy art-making together. In each of our 12 hospital locations, we create spaces where kids can get messy – even in a sterile setting.

Children’s Healing Arts Project’s in-hospital programs are designed to spark each child’s imagination. When our teaching artists roll our colorful cart full of paints, glitter, and markers into a waiting room or hospital lobby, that room instantly transforms from a place of anxiety, concern, and restlessness into one of wonder and creativity.

In every CHAP interaction, children are known for their creativity and ingenuity – never by their disease, diagnosis, or disability.

Whether it’s a beading project, animation, puppet-making, collage, or simply drawing with a colored marker on a sketch pad, CHAP makes sure each child finds his or her own voice through the artistic process.