Art that comes straight from the heart

R. Roger Rowe second graders and middle school students have a lot of heart. Their beautiful heart-themed paintings are bringing cheer to patients, doctors and visitors at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas as part of the Arts for Healing program.

Their colorful, sweet and touching works will be up at the hospital though March 14 but they are also up for auction to support the hospital. An artists’ reception and auction event will be held Sunday, Feb. 8 from noon to 2 p.m.

Students explained what they wanted their work to achieve in a book of all 30 works.

“I want people to feel great and warm inside because of the colors I chose,” second grader Christopher Kanner said.

Eighth grader Delaney McComb, who views art as her “secret escape,” said she wants people to feel brave when they see her painting.

“In order to never give up, you need to be brave,” McComb said.

Healing power of art

The Arts for Healing program at Scripps seeks to brighten up one particular corridor at the hospital with art; patients and doctors alike walk the corridor to boost their spirits.

Arts for Healing coordinator Gerrit Greve told the story of one man who had been visiting his dying mother in the hospital for two months.

He wrote Greve a letter to tell him he often stopped in the corridor to look at the art, saying it gave him strength and always put a smile on his face.

The Arts for Healing in the corridor change every few months. Rowe is the only elementary school that has participated so far. Santa Fe Christian will participate in the program in March.

Rowe art teacher Janis Reeser and Greve guided the children though the project starting in September, using “real” artist materials like acrylic paints and 24 by 36 inch canvases.

The result was paintings in “brilliant colors” drenched in the personalities of the students, Reeser said.

“The students were so genuine, it’s amazing,” Greve said. “I thought before I started it would be too obscure for them. But the ideas of giving and philanthropy, it excited them. It excited them to hopefully make a difference in somebody’s life.”

Love notes

The students put a lot of thought into their hearts.

Eighth grader Braedan Kammersgard said his painting came with deep meaning. “The message is that love never leaves you. Sometimes it’s just hidden,” Kannersgard said. “Whenever you feel down remember that love is the most powerful feeling in the universe and it will always bring you back up again.”

Second grader Patrick Cunningham explained his piece, which portrays a big, juicy red heart, surrounded by a little heart and stars.

“The sick person is the big heart and I’m the small heart and I’m sending love to them,” said Cunningham. “The stars are the love tips.”

To check out all the artwork, visit

Reeser will accept bids for those unable to make it to the Feb. 8 auction. Reeser can be reached at (858) 756-1142, ext. 116.