Who we are

Our mission

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ArtPass brightens the hospital experience for kids and teens by helping them create and share their artwork.

our vision

ArtPass programs improve the healing process undergone by admitted kids and and teens around the world by enlivening the hospital experience.  

 
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What we do

We make it easy for newly hospitalized kids to connect with other patients or future patients through the magic of art. Patients who sign up receive a free kit of art supplies directly in their room, and choose how they like to make and share art through the program that will best serve them. The end goal of our programs is to  foster more positive outlooks in patients through both creative expression and social connection.

our Branches

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passpacks

After signing up for any of ArtPass’ programs, a PassPACK will be delivered to the patient's room. An example picture of one of our PassPACKs is below. Our PassPACKS are 100% free to families. Some examples of art supplies a patient may find in their PassPACK include:

  • markers

  • colored pencils

  • regular pencils

  • watercolor set

  • crayons

  • colored paper

  • sketch paper

  • pencil sharpeners

  • glue

  • scissors

Our Team

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Malcolm Asher

Founder & Executive Director      

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Anna Hawking 

OperationS Director                                                           

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Isabella  baird

Branding director                             

Our Story

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In mid 2016, during my first volunteer shift at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, I was summoned to the oncology outpatient clinic to watch over the overrun playroom. During this first impression of the hospital, I witnessed something unexpected: young patients were fostering joy, positivity, and courage through sharing art with other patients in the unit. It became clear to me that this sharing of artwork had enormous effects on the children; from the support system it created, to the more positive mindset it instilled. It allowed the children to forget about their illness for a few minutes and express themselves creatively. Every time an exchange would happen, the recipient would excitedly run back to their room to hang up or store their new artwork.

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This was my first impression of the community of hospital patients, and I expected that these connections were being made in all of the units -- inpatient and outpatient.  As I began volunteer shifts in the inpatient units, I discovered that they encompassed a naturally isolating atmosphere in which the hospital patients felt more scared and alone. One of my tasks as a Child Life volunteer is to bring an activity cart room to room, allowing patients and families to take items such as decks of cards, art supplies, and books to help reduce their boredom. It became obvious that almost all patients had a desire to create art just like in the oncology outpatient clinic. After almost every shift, we would have to restock our activity cart with more art supplies.

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Soon, Monday became the dedicated day I would volunteer in the oncology outpatient playroom, I had the opportunity to talk to many kids about their artwork and explore the importance of the exchange process. It became evident that art was vital in the positivity and courage of these kids going through such strenuous and scary times. Kids of all ages and genders found meaning in creating art, whether as a therapeutic outlet, an opportunity to share their identity, or a way to support a friend going through treatment. While I always assumed art was very meaningful to youth (as it was to me), I was surprised to hear that exchanging artwork was as meaningful as the creation of the art, and could be such a substantial and worthwhile activity.

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Once the school year started, I was unable to continue my volunteer shifts in the oncology department, so I became a permanent inpatient unit volunteer.  Though I relished the opportunity to work with a new unit, I missed seeing the wonderful things that came out of the art-exchanges I’d seen in the oncology unit, and the differences in the way the extended stay patients acted due to the scary nature of the hospital. I started looking for ways to recreate the supportive and joyous connections I’d witnessed in my prior unit with the extended stay patients. After bringing up the idea to my peers, I heard an overwhelming response that they wish they had a program like this when they were in the hospital, and that it would've helped improve their hospital and healing experience. Plenty of meetings with hospital administrators, in-patient kids and parents, and like-minded volunteers who were eager to make a difference resulted in ArtPass.  And I couldn’t be prouder or more excited about it.

  • Malcolm Asher, Founder and Executive Director

Malcolm Asher is a junior at Cleveland High School, located in Portland, Oregon. He’s passionate about changing the health care experience for kids and teens around the world, and aims to reduce the fear and anxiety around being in the hospital. Through his work in many units of a children's hospital, taking action through healthcare legislation, and learning from other healthcare professionals, he is working towards his goal. From the stories he heard from kids undergoing medical treatment, he discovered that the power of art can make the healing process a more supportive and positive one.

Peggy Adams is a child life specialist and program coordinator for the Family Resource Center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. She is one of the fortunate individuals who has been with Art Pass before it was even an idea. Last summer, Malcolm sat and drew pictures with patients at the little playroom table in the hematology oncology outpatient clinic. Before you knew it, there was an exchange of pictures between patients, volunteers and siblings in the playroom. It was a magical moment and it is the gemstone for Art Pass. It is the experience of connecting through a shared exchange that makes Art Pass stand out. It’s about kids making their mark (literally) and sharing a bit of themselves with other kids in the hospital. As a board member of Art Pass, Peggy is committed to ensuring that the art exchange programs offer patients time together and an opportunity to build a meaningful connection one picture at a time.

Lauren Woodhouse-Laskonis is a junior at Cleveland High School. She is a social activist focusing specifically on children’s access to healthcare and education and is currently the Communications Director for ArtPass. She is very proud to be on the ArtPass team and is excited to bring our amazing programs to hospitalized children all around the world.

Anna Hawking is a junior at Cleveland High School. She plays competitive softball and is involved in leadership and visual arts at her school. Two of the things she appreciates most in life are the outdoors, and having the opportunity to do service and improve the lives of others. She believes that youth have the greatest power to create change, and believes in art and creativity as a way to build bridges and create connections.

Gwen Kaliszewski is a junior at Cleveland High School. She is passionate about human rights and believes that youth have the power to make immense change. She loves dancing, reading, writing poetry, and spending time with her friends. She believes that art and healing go hand in hand, and is passionate about improving the hospital experience kids, because every kid deserves to have a happy and fulfilling childhood.

Julia is a junior at Cleveland High School. At her school, she is a member of the Thespian Council and is deeply involved in the arts. She enjoys playing music and hanging out with friends and family in her spare time. Julia is excited to work with such a talented and positive team to bring joy into the lives of children.