UK HealthCare

Bubbling with Ideas for Asthma Awareness


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2010) − A partnership between University of Kentucky's AE550 Community Art Education course and the Kohl's UK Asthma Program at Kentucky Children’s Hospital has culminated with an art installation at the UK Asthma Clinic. The new artwork, which features a large bottle of bubbles, designed and fabricated by UK students, hopes to lift spirits and ease the nerves of young patients being treated for asthma at the facility.

The artwork and other UK art education projects presented in conjunction Kohl's UK Asthma Program were made possible by an ongoing grant from Kohl's Cares. The Kohl's UK Asthma Program is a statewide multi-media campaign to help parents and caregivers identify asthma and understand how to help children control asthma symptoms. Kohl's has donated $862,153 to Kentucky Children's Hospital since 2001. 

"Awareness is needed due to asthma being the most common chronic illness in children and the top reason why children are admitted to the hospital," said Dr. Don Hayes, UK pulmonologist. "This wonderful gift represents what is needed to help children in Kentucky - parents and families often need support, so projects that are represented by this art symbolize what is needed. Without the support of Kohl's, UK would not be able to do this important work."

The art installation is the final chapter of a semester of collaborative projects between the UK art education class and the medical program. Previously, students in the course helped promote asthma awareness through art experiences presented at such popular community events as Lexington's Farmers Market and Second Sunday, as well as a family celebration held at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.

The students came up with the concept for the large artwork, which depicts a bottle of bubbles, wand and floating bubbles, through sharing their own personal and family experiences with asthma.

"We wanted to create something that was symbolic of breath and air, as well as childhood," said Cory Bricking, an art teacher at Tates Creek Middle School working on his master's degree in art education at UK. "We selected the bottle design because we remembered how as kids we loved blowing bubbles."

After coming up with the design for the piece of art, Bricking fabricated the bottle and cut out the shapes before other students from the class came together to paint and help install the artwork at the clinic the weekend before finals.

The students hope the art will make children's experiences at the clinic easier. In addition, the class also presented the clinic with scrapbooks featuring pictures, bubble art and stories about various individual's experiences with asthma for patients to look at in the waiting room of the clinic. Supplementary art materials for children to use and create their own piece of art to add to the books were also provided. The class wants visitors to take their mind off why they are at the clinic by participating in the artwork by adding pieces to the scrapbooks.

"We hope faculty, students and patients will not only enjoy looking at the scrapbooks, but become part of it by adding their own stories," noted Bricking.

To see more on the various community art projects created by the A-E 550 students, watch the video below by UK arts adminstration senior Stephanie Kelley and arts administration junior Ashleigh Lovelace.

To view a transcript of the video, click on the transcript link just below the photo gallery.

Students in this fall's AE550 Community Art Education course, known as "UK Convergence" were led by instructor Marty Henton. The group of consists of UK upperclassmen and graduate students representing a wide range of talented local art advocates, arts administrators, visual and performing artists, and educators interested in working within the Lexington community.