As memorable as childhood itself are the stories we read—and which are read to us—in those formative years, tales that serve to comfort, inspire, and make us feel safe. In these moments parents, too, find a sense of security and promise. The more than 50 artists of We Art Boston honor the role of story time with a fundraiser featuring personal contributions of original works of art from some of the most recognizable, and beloved, contemporary children’s books. Proceeds benefit the Emergency and Trauma Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital, providing physical and emotional care to families following sudden events, with the hope that We Art Boston can help every family feel a little safer when they go to sleep tonight.
It started with the marathon, of course. I wasn’t at the site. I didn’t even get down to Boylston until a few weeks later. But in the days following the event, I knew something had shifted in the air, and in me. What had happened felt personal, as I know it did to so many others. My wife Susan and I have three children; two of them are close in age to Martin Richard, the 8-year-old who died instantly, right there near the finish line. When my family lived in the South End, we’d spent hundreds of hours together in the Boston Public Library. As so many parents felt in those hours and days afterwards, I was certain that it very easily could’ve been us.
We were anxious to find a way to help. As an artist, my first thought was to auction off a few paintings I’d created during the making of my first book, Beneath the Streets of Boston, and send the proceeds to the One Fund. But if I wanted to get involved, I thought, perhaps others would, too. I reached out to a few other children’s book author/ illustrators—David Macaulay, Matt Tavares, and Chris Raschka—to gauge interest in putting together a small collection of original art to be auctioned. Not only did every single one say yes, without hesitation, but they were so enthusiastic that they offered to help solicit donations from other illustrators as well.
Meanwhile, Susan reached out to Boston Children’s Hospital to explore the possibility of raising funds on their behalf. In the wake of the marathon bombing, the hospital had provided critical medical and emotional support to families, made possible by the hospital’s Emergency and Trauma Fund. An event that benefited BCH, and specifically its Emergency and Trauma Fund, seemed to Susan the best way to recognize the efforts they’d made, and the efforts they will surely make going forward.
Of course, the trauma of the bombing impacted the lives of so many children in ways that went beyond physical injuries, and we recognized the need to acknowledge this, too. It was important to us to find a way to contribute to the healing of the entire community. And so, throughout the fall, a number of the artists of We Art Boston will participate in events at the hospital and in small shops throughout the city. On October 20th we will host a family event on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
For most children’s book illustrators, drawing pictures is how we share ideas and stories, and convey excitement and hope. The artists of We Art Boston know the very real healing power that art, words, and collaboration can have on individuals, families, and communities, now and for years to come. We hope you’ll be inspired to get involved, too.
—Joe and Susan McKendry, founders
Boston Children’s Hospital’s Division of Emergency Medicine provides urgent medical, surgical and traumatic care for 60,000 patients a year. The consulting staff includes medical and surgical physicians from a broad range of specialties, social work professionals and foreign language interpreters.
The Trauma Center treats and cares for injured children with traumas ranging from bone fractures to burns to abdominal or chest injuries. The center ranks among the top 10 in the nation for the volume of injured children treated, and is one of only a few hospital-based programs in the United States to earn a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center verification from the American College of Surgeons— indicating the highest level of pediatric injury care.
On April 15th—Marathon Monday—the city of Boston was the target of a vicious act of terror. On that day and the days that followed, the emergency care team at Boston Children’s Hospital was confronted with a crisis they’d prepared for but hoped they’d never face. Staff sprang into action, providing swift, compassionate and thorough care to the injured children who arrived and showed remarkable calmness and strength in supporting the families of the injured who were anxious for news about their loved ones.