April 8, 2019

“Kids in Nashville” fashion show unites local artists and Children’s Hospital patients

Lab coats serve as canvases for beautiful art

15 local artists with murals around the Nashville area, have created a work of art on doctor's coats.

Children’s Hospital patient, Hope Embry, 10, works on a lab coat version of the Nashville Looks Good on You mural.

You’ve probably seen many works of art painted on sides of buildings across Nashville. Perhaps, you’ve even stopped to take a selfie in front of one or stopped with out-of-town friends to check out local iconic murals like “I Believe in Nashville.”

Many of these well-known artists with murals around the greater Nashville area and beyond joined together with patients from Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt recently to create one-of-a-kind works of art for a project called Kids in Nashville.

The local artists recreated smaller-scale versions of their work on white lab coats, which served as canvases for their work. Patients were invited to further enhance the wearable art.

The idea behind Kids in Nashville is to continue to promote a child-friendly environment at Children’s Hospital. A group of physicians have volunteered to wear the lab coats as part of their uniform while interacting with patients.

“We are passionate about involving the Nashville community in a conversation piece that assists with building rapport and comfort between pediatric patients and physicians,” said Tara Deluca, a board-certified art therapist at Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “This is a way for patients and families to experience art in their community while they are in the hospital.”

This is the second year that Deluca and Mamie Shepherd, Seacrest Studio manager, have partnered on a community-centric art project. In 2018, the pair organized “Haute in the Hospital,” a community event that allowed participants to design their own small piece of a deconstructed hospital gown. The pieces were sewn together into custom gowns and displayed during Fashion Week at the Little Art House, a studio, gallery and school.

The lab coats also were highlighted during Friends and Fashion, where professional models along with Children’s Hospital patients showcase spring fashions. The artwork was also be shared with community partners at the Frist Art Museum on Friday, April 5, before being distributed to the 12 lucky physicians.

“You have to see these coats to believe it,” said Deluca. “These muralists have knocked it out of the park and our budding artists have done an incredible job putting the finishing touches on each piece. The work is amazing.”

Artists/muralists in the project include: Adrien Saporiti (I Believe in Nashville); Andee Rudloff (Hillsboro Village/KayBob’s mural); Bill Caywood (Nashville Looks Good on You); Hatch Show Print artists Lauren Blakkolb and Tori Zimer; Little Art House owners Emma Bradford and Leighton Lancaster; Tinsley Anne Dempsey, curator of Charlotte Avenue murals – Off the Wall; Brian Wooden (Obscura, currently showing at Oz Arts); Tess Erlenborn (Off the Wall Nashville, Nashville Walls Project); Nathan Brown (Geometric Gradients); Brandon Donahue (Charlotte Avenue mural – Off the Wall); Beth Reitmeyer (Wishing Stars) and Ty Christian  (Harmony in Germantown).

Below are some of the artists’ creations, enhanced by Children’s Hospital patients:

Muralist Nathan Brown looks on as Kayla Ford, 9, colors in his mural


Little Art House


Tinsley Anne Dempsey


Bill Caywood


Ty Christian


Beth Reitmeyer


Tess Erlenborn


Andee Rudloff


Nathan Brown


Hatch Show Print


Tara Deluca and Mamie Shepherd


Brian Wooden