Monday, August 15, 2011

Art: Worth An Ounce of Prevention

Still Quadrant, ©2011, H. Hunter, 18" x 18," Monoprint and Collage
I'm sitting at my desk at the Children's Hospital here in Sacramento. When I'm here, I'm firmly in my role as an art therapist, but every so often this role gets mixed up with my role as an artist.

I often feel like I lead a kind of double life, shifting internally between the person who keeps a curious eye open to composition and the way colors play against one another, and the person whose job it is to keep watch with another; one whose life has been compromised by illness, accident or abuse. I offer them the time and space, safety and support so that they can use the art materials and allow whatever wants to emerge to appear. We welcome the result as just right, true to itself, perfect.

Every so often, my roles get jumbled--like this week. I had been asked by our director of Patient Care Services to participate in an art benefit to help raise money for a local chapter of the Child Abuse Prevention Center. She wanted to create an event filled with art and combined with California vintners, to help support this worthy cause. For anyone unfamiliar with the impact of this issue, the Center's site posts an astonishing list of statistics:

Every minute in America a child is reported abused or neglected...One in five is sexually abused. Half a million children are reported abused in California each year. Every day in California at least one child dies as a result of abuse or neglect.

Each one is one too many.

These are startling and disturbing statistics and what brings these numbers home to me is the entry of one of these small "ones" into our playroom,  carried in the arms of a nurse. The care and treatment that these children receive is superb and beyond that, the love that surrounds them is priceless. So many arms are there to soothe, protect and hold them as their injuries heal and the natural resilience of each child takes hold once again.

I didn't think twice before I said yes, because the request touched my heart. I knew that here was a way to give back.

I'll be showing my artwork with a number of excellent artists: Chris Beer, Mark Bowles, Beth Rommel, Andrew Maurer, Jane Mikacich, Wendy Nugent, Diane Poinski, and Stacey Vetter. I hope you'll take a moment to reflect upon this issue and consider what you might do in your own area to help. If you're going to be around the Sacramento area, I warmly invite you to the Pour for Prevention event on Saturday, August 27th from 6-9 p.m. For more information and details, click here.


  1. Thank you for the work you do Hannah! "Still Quadrant" is a beautiful piece and I can feel the energy you put into it.
    Thank you for mentioning me. I did donate a piece for the auction, but I won't be able to attend on the 27th. I will be with all of you in spirit and know it will be a successful event.

  2. Thank you Dianne--I was in your neck of the woods this morning--it is time to get together again! I appreciate your confidence--Still Quadrant is undergoing some more changes as I write:)

  3. I know the sadness of your work at times; the stats although not unfamiliar to me are none the less startling. wonderful event and glad so many came forward to participate and help.

  4. Hi Hannah
    I so embrace this post for many reasons...and I say thank you for the awareness that you share...I have volunteered in shelters for more than 20 years and am always touched beyond words by the capacity for healing within us when we begin to receive the 'right medicine' supplies can be such an important part of the prescription. Your piece is lovely. your stories always a soft touch to the heart.


  5. "Still Quadrant" is a beautiful piece...a garden of the spirit to me. The colors are remarkable and I love the detail.
    I wish your event much success...the combination of wine and art is always a good way to get people out and supportive.
    I was not aware of these actual statistics...they are heartbreaking. Agreed, in the right loving hands healing and mending can and does take place but my heart still asks why?

  6. Your post touches my heart. Thank you for the work you do to make the world a kinder, safer place.

  7. Dear Hannha,

    I cannot believe what it is I am reading because I was drawn this evening to click on your icon at another site and see what you have been up to, only to discover similarities in our posts. Unseen forces have been at work her.

    Apart from the child abuse, which is the similarities to our posts, I too am creating a work of art to raise funds for an organization helping those no longer in foster care.

    Thank you for all the great work you are doing. Maybe one day we can meet when I am in Sacramento to see Dianne P.

    Warmest regards,

  8. hello dear heart...I'm so glad you do what you do, are who you are...a blessing for so many and I'm quite certain you feel blessed in turn by the children you open your heart and art to.

  9. Thank you Lynn--I imagine that you come across many such cases in your work.

    Donna, what a great image those words "the right medicine" conjure--especially when you follow with the note that art is an important part of the Rx.
    Must remember this daily when I think that my work is separate from the Rx that goes to the pharmacy.

    Thanks Patty!

    Egmont--Wow--can there be any coincidence? I think that a gathering in Sacramento is a fabulous idea. Let me know when you are coming to see Diane P.

    Laura--Absolutely I do feel blessed--and, I feel children are so much more direct in their expression of love and affection in their artwork than we adults.

  10. Hannah, your post shows two so contradicting sides. The one about the child abuse is frightening and upsetting, and I know this happens all over the world. The other one, your artistic contribution is just brilliant. Thank you for sharing this!

  11. Hannah,
    You are a beautiful soul... to be able to work in such sadness and yet be so brilliant and upbeat with your art.
    we all read statistics and while we may or may not have the exact numbers, we do realize that the number of innocent souls getting illtreated is high, but you are out there... making a difference one child at a time. I wish I was living closer, i wudve loved to contribute to this amazing cause.