The event, which auctioned artwork created by children in the community who receive OT services, as well as pieces by professional artists, raises funds for the Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center (RKSTC), the only student-run, pro bono occupational therapy clinic in the Mid-South.
“This art show is really empowering for the children who are involved and their self- esteem to say, ‘I want to do something to help the clinic,’ ” said Anne Zachry, PhD, OTR/L, chair and associate professor in the UTHSC Department of Occupational Therapy. “They are helping others because they are so used to others helping them.”
The clinic opened in 2016 and held its first art show that year. Both are named after Rachel Kay Stevens, an OT student who died shortly after beginning her OT program at UTHSC. The art show honors her memory and her passion for pediatric occupational therapy and the arts.
Due to the pandemic, the art show was held online in 2020, and since then, it has significantly grown its reach. Prior to the online format, the art show raised approximately $2,000.
Crowd favorites this year included art of famous musicians created by children from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital; a painting by N.J. Woods called “Just Me & My Dog,” which raised $250; and “Dog” by Melanie Anderson, which sold for $200.
The art show has become a model for other occupational therapy clinics across the country for raising funds for their pro bono clinics. “I’ve had several pro bono clinics reach out to me and say, ‘Can you help me? Tell me how y’all organize this, we want to do something similar,’ ” she said.
About 60 percent of the artworks auctioned were donated back to the clinic, which is temporarily located on the 7th floor of the 920 Madison Building. Those pieces will be on display so that children receiving services will see their original artwork on the walls of the Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center.
Since it opened, the Rachel Kay Stevens Therapy Center has served more than 400 children, trained 200 students, 225 teachers, and worked with approximately 200 parents.
All winners can arrange pick up of artwork by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.