Reinhardt’s first-year students start service learning with PaintFest
By Jordan Beach
Three hundred and twenty first-year students filled Reinhardt’s gym for PaintFest, ready to make art that will brighten hospital walls across the country.
Reinhardt University hosted The Foundation for Hospital Art on Aug. 17 for PaintFest as part of Eagle Bound, where students participated in their first RU service event, one that will bring hope to patients in the form of brightly colored murals.
“These paintings are painted by volunteers that are then sent to hospitals where the sterile walls are brightened by these murals,” said Meghan Black, artist and event leader for The Foundation for Hospital Art. “The hospital setting can oftentimes be depressing and scary, especially for their long-term guests. Our mission is to give comfort and love to those in hospitals by painting those walls with color and interest.”
Reinhardt has hosted PaintFest for three years as part of the New Student Orientation experience. This year’s event was part of “Patient Packs,” where volunteers paint three canvases of a mural and a patient completes the fourth painting, one that includes notes of encouragement on the back of the canvas and will hang in their room as a complete set.
“I have gotten to see some of the most disheartened cancer patients have their moods lifted by just picking up a paintbrush,” Black said. “Just the act of walking down a hallway filled with art and having something different to focus on has lifted spirits of patients and made the hospital experience much more bearable.”
While the purpose of PaintFest is to lift the spirits of hospital patients, the impact reached those who participated in the event.
“This event was a great way for our new students to get to know each other while working on a project to make a difference for others,” said Sloane Day, coordinator of student programming.
The Foundation for Hospital Art was founded in 1984 by John Feight, and since then has donated more than 48,000 paintings to over 6,000 healthcare facilities in 195 countries.
“The work I get to do is for more than just business,” said Black. “It’s art with a purpose. It’s love through a paintbrush.”