When Akron Children’s art consultant Ron Beahn purchases new pieces of art to add to the hospital’s collection, he considers such factors as how well the piece is composed and the artist’s use of the specific medium.
But the most important consideration is whether the art will appeal to children.
Since 1993, Akron Children’s has used art to create an environment that is comforting and uplifting and reflects the hospital’s family-centered care philosophy. It is guided by the theme, “through the eyes of a child.”
The collection began when Children’s first art consultant, Kay Taber, organized 47 different community workshops throughout northeast Ohio. Professional artists led these workshops, which included employees, their family members, students and others from the community.
In addition to setting new standards in hospital environments, the artwork has become part of the hospital’s culture.
Today, all of the pieces that Beahn selects are created by local schoolchildren. In exchange for their artwork, elementary and middle school children receive a $50 U.S savings bond, while high school students receive a $75 one.
He’s currently in the process of assembling a collection for the Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics office in Warren. Whenever art is collected for an outlying location, Beahn makes sure it comes from local children within that community.
Besides strengthening community ties, it makes it easier for families to stop by to see their children’s art on display, he said.
Beahn has been at the helm of the art program since 2005. An accomplished watercolor artist and art show director, he’s the former curator of the art collection at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
Under his direction, Children’s art collection has more than doubled to about 2,500 pieces.
“Since my involvement with Akron Children’s, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the staff and the care they provide,” said Beahn. “I’m here to support them, so they can focus on this important work.”