2019-2020 Artist-in-Residence: Ginna Dowling

Think about the power of children’s art and a child’​s expression of hope. Now, imagine children hospitalized after traumatic events or battling with life-threatening illnesses. Consider the power in their artistic expressions of hope and strength. Can you see a bright and colorful, larger-than-life installation of these creative expressions from an entire community of children? What if they were visible from the windows and walls of the hospital hallways and play spaces? Can you imagine an innovative artistic project that empowers these children and brings joy and comfort to them and their families?

The Interactive Project

From September of 2019 to May of 2020, The Children’s Hospital will partner with Ginna Dowling to bring these creative expressions to life. Workshops will offer a simple creative process, where kids, families, physicians and hospital staff alike will create self-representational identity symbols, and add them to collaborative pop-up installations. The individual images will then be remastered into vinyl, and placed in larger-than-life story installations that will cover the walls and windows of areas in The Children’s Hospital.

Each participant will hand tear and create their own “identity glyph” self-representational identity symbol. Each symbol, which is similar to a visual version of a literary character tag, will then be added into a collaborative story-like pop-up installation that represents their hospital community. Part of the collaborative exercise can include sharing with the group what their respective symbol means, and how it relates to them.
Children create artwork as a part of the 2019-2020 artist in residence project

Developing a Therapeutic Arts Program at The Children’s Hospital

This collaborative artist-in-residence experience is the first step toward a robust therapeutic arts program. The Children’s Hospital currently offers patient and family support and play programming through child life, music therapy, facility therapy dogs, volunteers, special events and more. This year, the focus is on expanding arts experiences and building a program.

“Art is not just visual – it engages the whole person and engenders hope. That’s why building a strong art program for our kids is vital,” said Sara Jacobson, director, Child Life and Volunteers with The Children’s Hospital. “There is great healing power in this combination of creative expression, collaboration and community.”

“The Language of Hope and Courage” project is generously funded by: Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and The Children’s Hospital Volunteers charity.

The Artist - Ginna Dowling

Ginna_DowlingGinna Dowling is a contemporary printmaker, installation artist, and visual storyteller. An Oklahoma City native and the fifth woman artist in three consecutive generations, Dowling received her MFA from the University of Oklahoma. Her education includes a B.A. in journalism and postgraduate work in professional writing. Her visual storytelling reflects her writing and arts influence, bound together with her artistic heritage.

Dowling’s works have been exhibited internationally. She is the recipient of the 2018 Oklahoma Visual Arts (OVAC) Fellowship, an artist-in-residence in Clermont-Ferrand, France, with Norman Arts Council’s (NAC) Cultural Connections, and a 2015 artist-in-residence at Cill Rialaig Art Center in Ireland. She is a past recipient of an OVAC Project Grant. In Oklahoma, her work is included in the permanent collection at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Other exhibitions include Oklahoma Contemporary, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, The Oklahoma Capitol, [Artspace] at Untitled, IAO, JRB Art at the Elms, MAINSITE Contemporary Art, The University of Oklahoma Lightwell Gallery, The Hardesty Art Center and the Thomas K. McKeon Center for Creativity.