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Art helped this 13-year-old escape after leukemia

July 13, 2017 // by Denise M. Reagan

Bella Brinson spends her time much like any 13-year-old artist--painting, using charcoal, making origami, and, most of all, sketching.

But after her leukemia diagnosis, she was thrilled to find Art with a Heart in Healthcare. Her mother, Christie Smith, said it was a great outlet during Bella's long stays in the hospital.

Bella Brinson working on Another Side Revealed artwork
Bella Brinson works on her canvas for Another Side Revealed: Art with a Heart in Healthcare.

“All the artists-in-residence were so thoughtful and helpful,” Smith said. “They provided what was needed without ever being pushy.”

Smith said she would recommend the program to anyone in their family's situation.

“We are thankful for each one of the artists and their desire to help others,” Smith said.

Bella's family “definitely” plans to visit Another Side Revealed: Art with a Heart in Healthcare, which opens with a reception at 2-4 p.m. Sunday, August 6.

“We feel honored that Bella will be included in this very special exhibition,” Smith said.

As Bella prepares to enter the eighth grade, we asked her a few questions about her experience with Art with a Heart.

Bella Another Side Revealed artwork
This story accompanies Bella Brinson's artwork in the exhibition: "Isabella loves to use her creativity to make arts, crafts, and music. Of her portrait, she says, “I love all animals. I want to help protect them, and that’s why I painted this.” On the left, Isabella holds a stuffed fox, while on the right she’s a veterinarian holding a real fox. She also holds aspirations of possibly becoming a baker someday."

What is it like working with the artists-in-residence?

I feel very welcomed to be myself. All of the artists-in-residence are kind, funny, and know how to cheer you up.

What are your favorite things about Art with a Heart?

I love how the painting and art supplies are good quality products. The people are really nice and will help you.

What art supplies do you like to use?

I like to use pencils and watercolors or acrylics on paper or canvas.

Do you have a favorite artist?

My favorite artists are actually my mom, my dad, and my cousin Ayden. They are good artists who inspire me.

Bella works with Art with a Heart in Healthcare artists
Bella Brinson works with some of the artists-in-residence of Art with a Heart in Healthcare. Image courtesy of Christie Smith.

How do you feel when you're creating art?

I feel free and imaginative when I am able to draw whatever is on my mind.

What is your favorite project you've done with Art with a Heart?

My favorite project was the poster that I made for my brother since he was my 10/10 transplant donor for bone marrow.

Do you ever work on art projects on your own?

All the time. I draw sketches in my notebooks and color with markers. I paint canvases at classes and glaze pottery at a shop.

Bella creates art at hospital
Bella Brinson paints an owl during her stay at the hospital. Image courtesy of Christie Smith.

Have you learned any art techniques you did not know before participating in Art with a Heart?

I learned a lot about watercolors. I used watercolor pencils for the first time. I learned how to paint good watercolor pictures, and I learned how to make watercolors out of acrylic.

How would you like others to feel when they look at your artwork?

I would like others to feel how they want to feel about my artwork. If they like it, then yay! If not, that's OK. 

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