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Art with a Heart and MOCA Jacksonville showcase pediatric patient artworks

Ethan, Age 14, I’m the Hero, 2021. Digital drawing, 20 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of Art with a Heart in HealthcareMOCA Jacksonville continues its partnership with Art with a Heart in Healthcare (AWAHIH) with “BEHIND THE MASK”, a special exhibition of artwork by pediatric patients at Wolfson Children's Hospital, Nemours Children's Clinic, St. Vincent’s, Mayo Clinic, and Baptist Medical Center.

“MOCA Jacksonville has been honored to partner with Art with A Heart in Healthcare for many years,” said MOCA Jacksonville director Caitlín Doherty. “We are proud to be part of this program, transforming the healthcare experience of young patients through the power of creative expression in the arts.”

Art with A Heart in Healthcare is a nonprofit organization that provides personalized fine art experiences to enhance the healing process for patients and families at Greater Jacksonville local hospitals. Each patient is partnered with an artist in residence of AWAHIH, bringing out their natural talents, while promoting self-confidence and self-awareness during their hospital experience.

“I witness every day the power that art has in the healing of children,” said Christy Ponder, CEO of Art with A Heart in Healthcare. “From a child being so engrossed in painting and forgets to ask for pain medication to seeing an art resistant child enjoying creating for the first time. We are so fortunate to be part of these amazing children’s lives.”

The 2021 exhibition “BEHIND THE MASK”, was inspired by the experience we are all going through with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the work of artist Roy Lichtenstein and his use of dot patterns and speech bubbles. Under the guidance of AWAHIH Artists-in-Residence Dylan Bauer, Jill Olmo Swanson and Brooke Mckinney, the patients created self-portraits behind a unique mask, exploring new ways of communicating and self-expression.

On Sunday, September 12, MOCA Jacksonville will host the virtual opening reception for this unique exhibition, an opportunity for families and friends of the young artists to gather and connect in a moment of creative community. The reception is free and open to the public. “BEHIND THE MASK” will be on view in the MOCA Jacksonville Education Gallery from September 11, 2021, through January 2, 2022. The program is sponsored by the Florida Blue Foundation, with additional support from Chao Framing.