Ukulele Art Project Supports Children's Hospital Ridge Junior Students' Artwork Raising Funds for Music Therapy Program
has been known to impact lives in many ways and now, thanks to Ridge
Junior students, there’s one more way in which original artwork is
positively helping others.
Students in Amy Panfalone’s art class
decided to share their talents to create ukulele art with special
themes, focusing on empathizing with children facing chronic or terminal
illness. The school district was approached by True Joy Acoustics to
have students paint four ukuleles in total. Their purpose is to
attract sponsors and ultimately donate a much larger set of new
ukuleles to the music therapy program at Cincinnati Children’s
The 27 designs created across Amy's art class
students were inspired by four themes: the range of emotions that
accompany illness; the ripple effect of a caring heart; how music can
soothe the soul and help with healing; and children helping children
through recovery. Then a panel of 12 judges, comprised of music and
art therapists working in pediatric hospitals, as well as a
professional children's book author and artist, reviewed the designs.
Many sent notes in with their votes praising the incredible work of
the students. The panel also included a special guest, the mother of
an honorary Cincinnati Children's Hospital patient who painted her
ukulele with the help of her music therapist.
artwork was unique and included a personal statement from the artist,
creating even more insight and inspiration. Narrowing the field to
four designs for actual instrument painting was a difficult task. The
artists selected were: Ronit Hiryur, Brielle Brown, Stephanie Trejo, and Marialinda Roblero Escalante.
has been great to see a teacher inspire her students to take the
lessons well beyond the classroom through this community outreach
project,” said Greg Huntington, founder of True Joy Acoustics.
“Instruments donated from this project will touch hundreds of
hospitalized children for years to come. It is obvious that the final
painted ukuleles, as well as the entire set of artworks captured in a
PowerPoint gallery, have been created with an abundance of heartfelt
The initiative has several components, including a
display at Midpointe Library of the four student-painted ukuleles, plus
two other instruments painted by professional artist Johanna Wright.
The display, which runs June 1-30, will also include images of the
ukulele painted by Kenna, the honorary patient who passed away from
complex immune system deficiencies. Kenna's ukulele resides with her family in Montana.
More than $1,500 has already been pledged by local individuals in honor of this work.
to Huntington, “The fundraising now shifts to a second phase via
online CrowdFunding, with the goal of supplying a total of 20 new
ukuleles for Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The ukuleles are
innovative and rugged in design, enabling them to last a long time in
the hospital. They retail for about $200 each. The campaign will be
stretching and hopefully support the donation of a similar set for
music therapy at Seattle Children's Hospital. The latter is a 'sister
city' beneficiary for True Joy Acoustics ukulele donations.”
online campaign launches in June, concurrent with the public library
display. Anyone interested in seeing all of the student artwork and
desiring to support the initiative may do so by visiting the website www.truejoyacoustics.com.
passed away five years ago and would have turned 14 this coming
August. She would be around the age of the students who participated
in this project,” stated Huntington. “Somehow, I feel it's more than
coincidence that Amy and her students stepped forward to bring this
project to life without knowing her story beforehand.”
at Ridge Junior took part in a unique art project benefiting
Cincinnati Children's Hospital music therapy program (from left to
right: Marialinda Roblero Escalante, Brielle Brown, art teacher Amy Panfalone, Ronit Hiryur, and Stephanie Trejo.