Children at Brooklyns Brookdale Hospital are using their imaginations and creativity this summer as they work alongside New Zealand artist, Vivien Masters. Vivien is collaborating with Brookdale as part of her international non-profit art project for seriously ill children, the Dreamscape Project. Throughout July she will be working with the Child Life Department at Brookdale to deliver art classes to children facing the daily challenges of long-term medical treatment.
Together, they will create three large-scale artworks with the children, all of which will be donated to Brookdale Hospital by the artist upon completion. Newly appointed CEO Mark E. Toney is 100% behind the project, understanding the importance of such opportunities for young patients to express themselves.
Vivien works as a visual artist and art educator in Auckland, New Zealand, and has a background in working with seriously ill and disabled children. In 2012 she founded the Dreamscape Project, a non-profit art project that has brought her to New York for 2 months while she collaborates with Brookdale.
The project is unique in its approach to art making; an experiment in collaborative practice. Since the start of 2012, Child Life Specialist Janis Atty has been gathering ideas from her patients, asking them what they would like to see included in the artworks. Suggestions ranged from the simple animals, mermaids, balloons, dragons to the complex two sunflowers and a rainbow watching TV together outside!. Vivien gathered their ideas and transformed them in to three highly detailed artworks on canvas, rendered in waterproof ink. The children are now bringing the works to life by painting the canvases.
Art and play are more than just fun for these children, they are crucial outlets of self-expression that aid coping and healing. The healing power of art and creativity can transform the hospital experience for a child. The Dreamscape Project is my way of engaging young people in art, and providing meaningful art making experiences for them, says Vivien.
Art therapy is widely practiced in healthcare facilities across the U.S, recognized for its ability to lower stress and anxiety in pediatric patients. Art making opens a unique channel of non-verbal communication with young patients, who find difficulty verbalising thoughts and feelings.
In September Vivien will return to New Zealand to continue work on her project. You can follow her progress at www.thedreamscapeproject.org