Hmmm….where should i start from ;D! I met Anthony Knutson via Twitter as he began following me, expressing my plight on a rough day, Anthony rained down upon kind & wonderful words upon me which made me smile. Learning more about him, i came to know that Anthony ran a foundation by the name The Art for Life Foundation. Its message and its cause really touched me, i sent out a few Tweets for his foundation, but didn’t feel much, so i decided to write in a post about it, as i have been also supporting other causes on my page Causes I Support and Promote.
For over 13 years now, Art for Life has focused on creating programs that help kids who are undergoing physical, emotional or mental crisis to use art as a way of helping them work through and with their illness. They’ve been empowering kids from an early age through their teens to embrace art as a way of expressing how they feel during and what is a very scary and difficult time for them.
Self expression through Art has been a wonderful way to help these kids and has been a method used by Art For Life. Children’s Hospitals can be places of noticeable tension, where the struggles, fears and hopes of patients, families and staff make for a stressful experience at times of them. At a time like this, people realize that healing goes beyond curing the body, curing comes in emotionally also and that its very important. At various children’s hospital locations,
The Art For Life Foundation offers various arts programs to pick up where medicine stops to help guide patients through recovery. They also reach out to Children’s Hospices &
Juvenile Centers, Behavioral Health Centers, Children’s Houses and many more places
wherever these kids need any love & support.
Their programs provide inclusive, interactive, therapeutic art activities that help normalize the hospital experience for kids. All patients are encouraged to participate, regardless of physical limitations. The programs work either in a group environment or in one-on-one sessions with the objective to provide a nurturing and inspirational creative experience to every child. All the programs are not in children’s hospitals. They also work with a juvenile courthouse and with a childrens hospice/respite location, however all of their programs work with children using art as an effective tool – empowering them and often times their siblings and family members – to actively participate in their own healing process.
The Art for life Foundation runs a various number of amazing programs that makes these kids and teens smile, some of them are :-
Feeling Notes – The Foundations uses the soothing music of the harp to help the patients feels calm and relieved.
Art While you Wait – In this program the founder provides a variety of art & craft materials & projects to the patients and their siblings waiting for treatment in the Emergency Department – Located in 7 states across the US.
Vickie & Friends (Ceramic Painting) - Vickie Geistkemper, the program director and her friends have helped 1,750 children to paint Ceramics, they’ve got beautiful themes for these kids each month, for eg: bugs in June and Hearts in October. And also the family members of children are encouraged to take part so that the children feel the Love & Support from everyone around them.
Artfelt Memories – This program helps kids cope up with the death of a parent or sibling and parents cope with their loss of a spouse or child, they work with children, teenagers and their parent(s). It gives each family member an opportunity to create a ceramic memory piece in honor of their loved one. Giving them a way to create their own art as a way to capture their own unique memories of their loved one.
Painting Hearts! – It as an arts program for children/young adult cardiac patients, their siblings and adult family members, as well as parents whose infant children are undergoing cardiac surgery and/or procedures. They’re given an opportunity to create their own unique ceramic heart with a question What makes your heart happy ?
And you know the best part, this is just beginning of some of the most wonderful programs that The Art for Life Foundation runs !!!
These various beautiful programs help kids to feel better, it takes their mind off the stress and tension that they face, these beautiful pieces of Art created by the kids themselves and by the volunteers become a symbol of healing of love, radiating happiness and joy in their lives and making that time an phase much more easier and comforting for them ! It gives them an opportunity to help and create something out of their own hearts.
Anthony started this foundation 13 years ago with a dream of helping a few children, now it reaches over 18,000 kids per year. With its simple yet wonderful & profoundly amazing idea the foundation won prizes and achieved great recognition throughout the country. Which include – The Bertha Wright Award in 2004 – Winner of The Blair L. Sadler International Healing Arts Competition and some more.
Anthony’s kindness, love, hard work and dedication towards his foundation has now made it a large foundation with an amazing reach, The Art For Life Foundation has 22 programs located across 8 states including Washington DC.
The foundation helps hundreds of kids to smile each day, it makes them feel happy about what they can create, it takes their mind of the pain and experience that they go through, not only that, but it gives them a positive insight about life that no matter what happens, everything in life is a learning experience, and that even when times are not so easy, we must always smile and release our creativity in different ways and forms, as it expresses our deep innermost emotions, the beauty, the love, the happiness and the innocence of these children can be seen in the wonderful pieces of Art that they create, not only providing them with healing emotionally, but also from their hearts and minds.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the foundation, then do please visit their website here : http://www.artforlife.org
You too can make a difference in the lives of these children, you too can add up to be a reason that they feel better and they smile, you too can shower upon them a small act of kindness by donation here : http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/anthony-knutson/the-art-for-life-foundation .
Here’s on how more you can help : http://www.artforlife.org/how_you_can_help.html
Here’s a Testimony from some wonderful people including Larry King : http://www.artforlife.org/testimonials.html
Their Facebook Page here : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Art-for-Life-Foundation/97280494045
And you can find them on Twitter as : @ArtforLifeOrg
Concluding this post with some wonderful messages from Anthony himself :
“Sometimes healing can come from the love & support of a volunteer artist helping to add a special finishing touch ~ Anthony”
“Children just don’t do Art, but they live within it. They take a crayon and a piece of paper and create a world that is real and in that reality find a place to heal ~ Anthony”
” It is important to create. It is important to Play. Art is the Rainbow that appears after every storm, reaching out, inspiring, transforming and reflecting back the love & life of everyone it touches ~ Anthony”
This Foundation truly inspires me, each time when i think of a child creating Art that makes him/her smile, it warms my heart, i remember when as child i drew or painted and when i saw my work, i know the smile it brought me and how Love flowed from the heart in every single line that was created and each drop as it touched the paper.
I Thank you all for taking out time to read this post and I pray and hope from my heart that May God always & always Bless This Foundation and Anthony with Lots of Love, Happiness & Blessings.