Spread Your Wings
Dell Children’s Art of Giving, 2017
“Painting that feather with Elizabeth made Liv feel like a child again- not a patient in the hospital. That experience was the ONE THING that stood out for Liv – it had such an impact on her. She couldn’t wait to see her “feather” in the finished piece of art!”
From Jennifer Henke, mom to Liv, age 8
I am so grateful for Spread Your Wings™, my community arts program that first took flight at Dell Children’s Hospital’s 2017 “Art of Giving” event, in Austin, Texas. Spread Your Wings broke fundraising records for Dell, making it their most successful “Art of Giving” to date.
Its genesis precedes “Art of Giving:” angels have long been an inspiration my art and Bobby’s art. We believe that angels are real, loving beings who provide guidance and support throughout our lives. When we discovered 18-year-old Ben Breedlove, whose YouTube video describing angels and a beautiful afterlife went viral after his passing, we were moved to create something that carried this message even further.
From Christianity to Judaism to Mormonism and Islam,
85% of the world
also believes in angels.
“Spread Your Wings” at Dell united the children in creating a larger-than-life art sculpture of Angel Wings as a fundraising item: I cut out nearly 200 blank canvas feathers, in all shapes and sizes, so that each child would have a feather to paint in their own, unique way.
Every child (and adult) not only painted their feathers, they posed in front of the wings all day long, arms outstretched, “spreading their wings.”
The project was a huge hit, with everyone feeling and expressing their inner angel. I will never forget the joy on each child’s face – one recovering from brain cancer, another navigating heart disease and many with illnesses I had never heard of; all painting their hearts out, making feathers and posing in front of the angel wing template. We were also joined by other children and parents from the Austin community, Dell doctors and event sponsors; everyone truly united in the “Art of Giving.”
The painted feathers were incredible: back in my New York studio, I began integrating my own artistic sensibilities, and it was as though the final Angel Wings assembled themselves. They had incredible beauty and energy; when they left my studio bound for the “Givers Gallery” event in Austin, there was a noticeable change in the air.
At the event, I learned that the Angel Wings had been purchased by the Breedlove family, and donated back to Dell Children’s for their new Regional Heart Center. There, they will forever bring hope, joy and connection to every child who passes through their doors.
Now, through The Spread Your Wings Project, Bobby and I are committed to helping as many individuals as possible connect with their Angels through this remarkable program. And, we know that Ben Breedlove is watching and smiling as all of this unfolds.
“Elizabeth’s idea to create a larger than life, unique pair of Angel Wings seemed unimaginable, but we knew in our hearts she would pull it off! Her passion and professionalism were unparalleled, providing the Dell Staff with complete confidence in “Spread Your Wings” from start to finish. The magic that took place at the event not only inspired another round of donations, but the final Angel Wings were purchased and donated back to the hospital, where they will memorialize every child as well as the event, while continuing to inspire everyone who passes through Dell’s corridors.”
From Suellen Brown,
Dell Children’s Trust Foundation Coordinator
Many thanks to Susan Hewlitt and Suellen Brown of Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Deanne Breedlove, and of course, Dell’s unstoppable Art Therapist, Elizabeth Hendley, who singlehandedly put “Art of Giving” together 5 years ago.