MCA Brings Le Bonheur Patients' Artwork to Life with Le Monster Exhibition
Memphis College of Art (MCA)presents Le Monster, a collaborative exhibition between Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the MCA community of students, faculty and staff who have reimagined drawings of monsters originally created by the hospital’s child patients. The exhibition will be on view Oct. 8–31 in the Hyde Gallery of the Nesin Graduate School, 477 S. Main St. Additionally, Le Bonheur will display patient works during the month of October, and after the closure of the Le Monster exhibition in Hyde Gallery, select works by MCA artists will travel to the hospital for a second exhibition. A family-friendly, monster-themed celebration of the exhibition will take place Friday, Oct. 28 from 6–9 p.m. in the Hyde Gallery, and guests are encouraged to wear costumes or monster-themed attire.
The project aligned with Le Bonheur’s Child Life “Art Cart” program over the summer, which gave patients the option of expressing themselves by drawing a monster. Some patients drew interpretations of their favorite classic monsters and villains, while others produced original creations ranging from scary and silly, to benevolent and bizarre. The MCA community of artists then selected from among the 125 monster drawings and reimagined the monsters in their own styles and in various media, including drawings, paintings, sculpture, sewn fabric creations, collages, digitally created images, metal structures and wood-turned figures. The project was proposed by MCA Associate Professor Michele Noiset after being inspired by The Monster Project, an international program in which artists from around the world reinterpret children’s original artwork.
“This partnership invigorated the MCA community. Our artists loved interacting with patients and hospital staff to create companion artwork to the patient’s original design,” said Noiset. “Before the project officially opened, I heard from people who wanted to participate. The patients’ images are beautiful, sometimes striking in simplicity, and often very poignant. The interpretations of the drawings have been so inspired. They have exceeded all of our expectations in breadth and scope.”
Art plays an integral role in the patient experience at Le Bonheur, and the hospital leads a dedicated effort to use art to promote healing. The newly redesigned facility features hundreds of unique works of art created by both professional artists (including MCA alumni such as Dolph Smith, Jeanne Seagle and Carroll Todd) and regional school children, and patients are encouraged to create masterpieces of their own through the hospital’s Art Cart program. The opportunity to partner with MCA on this type of project was meaningful for patients and staff.
“One of our greatest joys collecting monster artwork from our patients throughout the summer was observing the guileless and vibrant ways that children find to express themselves. We are grateful to our friends at Memphis College of Art for bringing the Monster Project to Le Bonheur, and look forward to seeing the juxtaposition of children’s and professional artwork,’” said Katherine Whitfield, Director of Volunteer Services and Family Centered Care at Le Bonheur. “One monster that particularly moved me was drawn by a child who is a patient of Le Bonheur’s Heart Institute, who created a mosaic-like, serpentine monster in bold colors. Along the margins the child wrote, ‘Monsters have three hearts…they should donate one, too.”
In addition to numerous student artists taking part as featured artists in the exhibition, several alumni, faculty and former faculty will have work included in the exhibition as well. Featured faculty and alumni artists include Adam Hawk, Alex Paulus, Angela Christopher, Bill Price, Chloe York, Cody Barnhill, Dolph Smith, Don DuMont, Eric Quick, Eszter Sziksz, Funlola Coker, Jean Holmgren, Jill Wissmiller, Joe Morzuch, Jon Hart, Lisa Tribo, Maggie Russell, Maritza Dávila, Michele Noiset, Michelle Duckworth, Nick Hewlett, O. Gustavo Plascencia, Nikkila Carroll, Remy Miller, Shof Coker, Terri Phillips, Thomas Green (in collaboration with Eric Huber and Terri Scott) and Wesley H. Ortiz, among many others. Photos of in process and completed work may be found online through the event’s Facebook page.
Costumes are encouraged at the Le Monster reception, to be held Friday, Oct. 28 from 6–9 p.m. in the Hyde Gallery of the Nesin Graduate School, 477 S. Main St. Attendees have the opportunity to meet the MCA artists, view the original artwork and purchase selected works. All proceeds benefit the artist directly, Memphis College of Art’s Scholarship Fund and Le Bonheur’s Child Life Program.
Le Monster is one of many exhibitions that MCA hosts for the community every year. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday noon–5 p.m., and Saturday noon–7 p.m. All MCA exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public. More information about upcoming exhibitions and events, including the Holiday Bazaar, can be found online at mca.edu.