Regina Zellars was driving up to MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s main entrance on Tuesday morning when something unusual caught her eye: She spotted several tables covered in canvasses, paint bottles and paint brushes.
Zellars stopped to inquire about the setup, and it wasn’t long before she threw on an apron and joined the 20-plus patients, health care providers and passers-by gathered around the tables.
Zellars had just left her 26-year-old daughter on the second floor in the hospital’s Cancer Institute to receive treatment for skin cancer. A few minutes of mindless painting was a welcome escape.
Tuesday’s painting event was the national kickoff for PaintFest America, a campaign that travels to 50 states in 50 days to connect cancer patients, survivors and supporters to art. At each stop, participants paint on paneled canvas murals using a paint-by-numbers approach. After the two-hour session, the completed murals are donated to the host hospital.
The foundation’s Executive Director Scott Feight added, “Because if [patients] are in a place that’s depressing and white and … clinical, there’s not really a lot of hope for recovery.”
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