‘Take Care With Peanuts’ artwork to bring smiles for hospital workers, patients
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Peanuts Worldwide, the company formed from the iconic comic strip created by Charles Schulz, was looking for a way to bring its brand to people around the globe.
The company was entertaining a message that people need to take care of the Earth, themselves and each other.
About the same time, the Foundation for Hospital Art reached out to Peanuts about partnering on a piece of art that could be displayed in hospitals.
Melissa Menta, the senior vice president of marketing and communications for Peanuts, had a bold plan, hoping to secure 70 murals across all seven continents to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the comic strip.
The “Take Care With Peanuts” initiative will bring a paint-by-numbers mural to 70 hospitals on six continents, excluding Antarctica, with the program launching in October.
Artwork donated to the hospitals features a couple of Schulz’s beloved characters in Snoopy and Woodstock.
“I would say you like ‘Peanuts’ if you’re human because it’s Schulz’s take on humanity,” Menta said. “Its joys. Its sorrows. Everybody can relate to ‘Peanuts’ in some way, so I think mostly it does bring a smile to a lot of people’s faces when they read the comic strips. There’s nearly 18,000 strips, and … [people] read it in the newspaper, but now people of all ages are getting it in social media.”
Scott Feight, the executive director of the Foundation for Hospital Art, called the partnership with Peanuts “a match made in heaven” because of the familiarity of the comic strip on a global scale. He said the nonprofit organization helps people deal with the mental grind of working at and being treated in hospitals.
“If you’ve ever been in a hospital, they’re scary places, but if you can transform them into colorful, warm, beautiful places, people feel better, they get better care, [and] their attitudes are better,” Feight said. “It’s like everybody wins on every level, and so that’s our mission.”
Feight said that the Foundation for Hospital Art has donated more than 49,000 paintings to approximately 7,500 hospitals in 195 countries. He added that more than 1 million people have painted with the foundation.
Paint-by-numbers pieces are a commonly used form of artwork donated by the Foundation for Hospital Art because of their ability to include more people in the morale-boosting activity.
“Sometimes people will think they’re offending us in saying, ‘Well, it’s just paint-by-numbers,’ but it enables everybody, even a patient with a brain injury in the hospital, to paint,” Feight said. “We can always come back later and redraw the black lines, sharpen it up if we need to, but the method is it brings everybody from all levels of society, all ages together in a common cause.”
In a time when kids cannot head to theme parks to interact with their favorite characters, Amber Chavez, a special programs coordinator at CHOC Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange, believes that a chance to bring part of their childhood right into the hospital is just what the kids and healthcare workers need.
The hospital is currently under quarantine because of the pandemic, so many of the hospital partners are unable to make their regular visits. Playrooms in the hospital are also closed.
“They’re not witnessing anything like that, so [having] something like Snoopy, who is a character that all of us, we grew up with, it’s going to truly mean something because we’ll have that thing that brings us back to our childhood,” Chavez said. “That’s our slogan: ‘Long live childhood.’
“That’s why we want to include the nurses and the kids because both are involved, and both know who Snoopy is.”
Chavez added that the patients enjoy painting at their bedsides and intimated that the hospital is considering having four kids and two nurses paint the six-part mural, one for each panel.
The mural could eventually be displayed near the hospital radio station, which Chavez said has also served as a symbol of connectivity at the facility during the pandemic with its ability to broadcast directly into patients’ rooms.
CHOC Children’s Hospital will also receive a painting from contemporary artist Rob Pruitt, who was one of seven artists in the Peanuts Global Artist Collective.
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