Founded in 2006 by visionary artist Frank Etxaniz and dedicated philanthropist Charlie Swindells, CHAP was born out of the recognition of the profound healing power of art for children and families at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Armed with a suitcase full of art supplies, Frank began weekly visits to the hospital, ensuring that children and families could express their creativity during some of the most challenging moments of their lives.
Since then, CHAP teaching artists have provided 95,000+ free healing art experiences to tens of thousands of children in hospitals across the Portland-metro area. CHAP hospital partners include OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Shriners Children’s Portland, and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. As our partner facilities serve both local and out-of-area patients, CHAP programs reach children from across Oregon, SW Washington, Northern California, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and beyond.
At CHAP, children are celebrated for their creativity and ingenuity – never defined by their illness, diagnosis, or disability. Each CHAP art interaction is customized to the needs, preferences, and abilities of each child, fostering connection and empowerment through choice, purpose, and self-expression. Our teaching artists have developed a diverse range of creative art projects using hospital-approved materials, catering to kids and teens who are immune-suppressed. We incorporate adaptive brushes and other tools for those with dexterity issues. If a child is in isolation or unable to leave their hospital bed, CHAP artists deliver art supplies directly to their room, enabling them to enjoy art-making with their families and friends.
We bring vibrant, messy fun to places that are often clinical and sterile by necessity.
Since the children and families we serve are never charged, our in-hospital healing art programs are sustained through contributions from our partnering medical facilities, as well as donations from compassionate individuals, grants, and foundations.