When the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on Hallie Rodney’s undergraduate studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, she found herself filling time with art.
“I find art very therapeutic,” says Hallie. “When quarantine started I began painting, it provided me with an outlet.”
To Hallie’s delight, “some of the paintings turned out really cool! I thought it would be great if I could share these.”
At first, Hallie shared her art with her grandfather, currently rehabilitating in Bridgepoint Active Healthcare after suffering a stroke in March.
“He has made significant progress with help and support from all of the incredible staff at the facility,” says Hallie. “He really likes the nurses and therapists.”
“Before he went to Bridgepoint, he was in the ICU and there were no visitors allowed. It was a very difficult for our family and for him.”
To bring her grandfather some joy, Hallie decided to share a few paintings with him, in hopes of brightening his days.
“Once he was out of ICU he was able to use his phone or iPad more. He would Facetime me and tell me how much he loved the paintings.”
Hallie thought other patients might also enjoy her work. She created a website with a virtual gallery to share her work with patients in hospitals. Then something magical began to happen.
“People started to reach out and send me their own art to add to the Gallery page on my website.”
The gallery is fueled by donations of art, as well as monetary donations that can be sent to specific hospitals including Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, part of Sinai Health. When people donate on the website in honour of a loved one, Hallie is notified and reaches out through email to thank the donor.
She also shares a link that allows the donor to customize an e-card that can be sent to the person who the donation was given to honour. Donations can either be made to a specific charity found on the website’s donate page or to Art For The Hearts, who will distribute the money between the selected charities.
Once restrictions are lifted, Hallie hopes to set up a system where individuals can donate in honour of someone in a health-care facility, and in return have a physical piece of art sent to them.
“Art is very special, it brings light, positivity and brightness, especially while patients and residents can’t have visitors or see family,” says Hallie. “It’s a really special and powerful initiative. I am looking forward to seeing Art For The Hearts flourish into something bigger!”
Now preparing to return to McMaster, Hallie’s brush with the health-care system has inspired her to study for her MCAT test and pursue a potential career in medicine.
Visit artforthehearts.com to view Hallie’s virtual art gallery, make a donation, or use the contact page to donate or send a piece of art to a loved one.
Stay up-to-date with Sinai Health
SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER