Oklahoma Children’s Hospital at OU Health Hosts Drive-By Art Display

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital at OU Health Hosts Drive-By Art Display

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Children’s Hospital at OU Health will showcase art created by hospital patients during a drive-by event that runs Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 5 to 7.

The display entitled “The Language of Hope and Courage,” is the culmination of the hospital’s first, year-long artist-in-residence program, using art experiences guided and directed by a community-based artist. Oklahoma artist Ginna Dowling, contemporary printmaker, installation artist and visual storyteller, is the first local artist to fill this role, using very accessible forms to engage young patients, as well as the physicians and hospital staff members who care for them.

“I think art therapy and the healing powers of art are absolutely tremendous,” said Dowling. “Kids get to come in, be themselves and play. They tear and glue and just create.”

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital has long offered programming to support patients and families, including child life specialists, music therapy, facility therapy dogs, volunteers, special events and more. Launched in 2019, this collaborative artist-in-residence experience is a further step toward a robust therapeutic arts program.

“Our goal has always been to develop an art therapy program - to bring in a community artist to work hands-on with the kids,” said Sara Jacobson, director of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital Child Life and Volunteer Services.

Workshops offered a simple creative process, essentially tearing, shaping and gluing multi-colored construction paper, to fashion self-representational identity symbols. Jacobson described the finished images as something like contemporary hieroglyphics or abstract self-portraits. “The symbols and imagery tell the stories of what children and families are going through.”

Jentri Whitford, Child Life Zone coordinator, said, “It was amazing and powerful to see kids open up so quickly, wanting to tell their stories and share their experiences.” According to Whitford, the stories may or may not reflect experiences of hospitalization, but certainly encompass life stories that tell who these children are and reflect something of their spirits.

Dowling explained the range of creations were photographed and re-mastered in vinyl, making them long-lasting and durable. In the future, this collection may travel for display in other exhibits and galleries, although many of the works will be showcased permanently at Children’s.

The Language of Hope and Courage project was made possible in part through funding provided by Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as Kirkpatrick Family Fund and Oklahoma Children’s Hospital Volunteers charity.

Oklahoma Children’s Hospital is located at 1200 Children’s Avenue in Oklahoma City. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the building is restricted. More than 80 pieces of art will be displayed on the sidewalk below and from windows in the skywalk above, from S.L. Young Blvd. down Children’s Avenue on the west side of the hospital. Drive-by viewing is open from noon to 4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6, and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7.

Art will be available for sale after the exhibit, with proceeds used to support the art therapy program at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital and future exhibits showcasing the project.

To see photos of project in process, or to purchase selected art from the project, visit https://www.ouhealth.com/blog/2020/january/2019-2020-artist-in-residence-ginna-dowling/.


At Oklahoma Children’s Hospital at OU Health, pediatric staff blends years of training with education, research and technology to improve the lives of children throughout the region. The obstetric emergency room at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital is a regional referral center for the state, and the neonatal intensive care unit provides the highest level of newborn care in Oklahoma. Oklahoma Children’s Hospital is also home to the only 24/7 pediatric emergency room in Oklahoma City. With a family-centered approach to healing, Oklahoma Children’s Hospital offers resources from pet therapy to child life specialists who help families cope with hospitalization and illness. From advanced surgical services to general pediatrics, oncology care and more, Oklahoma Children’s Hospital provides cutting-edge research and treatments through hospital-based and outpatient services. To learn more, visit oklahomachildrens.org.

OU Health is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics and centers of excellence. With 11,000 employees and more than 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, OU Health is home to Oklahoma’s largest doctor network with a complete range of specialty care. OU Health serves Oklahoma and the region with the state’s only freestanding children’s hospital, the only National Cancer Institute-Designated OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center and Oklahoma’s flagship hospital, which serves as the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. Becker’s Hospital Review named University of Oklahoma Medical Center one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America for 2020. OU Health’s oncology program at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center was named Oklahoma’s top facility for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report in its 2020-21 rankings. OU Health also was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in these specialties: Colon Surgery, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. OU Health’s mission is to lead healthcare in patient care, education and research. To learn more, visit ouhealth.com.