Splashes of Hope--a non-profit organization that creates custom-designed hand-painted murals, which are then donated to hospitals or any medical setting—will be having a Masquerade Ball fundraiser on Sunday, October 28th from 4 to 9 p.m. at trendy new Melville restaurant Jewel by Tom Schaudel.
The group had an open meeting at the new Microsoft store in the Walt Whitman Mall on Thursday, October 11th, in order to “reach out to the community,” said Splashes of Hope board president Brian Yudewitz.
They were joined by Seven, who works at the Microsoft store. He said, “Anyone can sell software. We want to be part of the community. “ He and 39 other Microsoft employees volunteered to go to Splashes of Hope’s headquarters at Coindre Hall in Huntington recently, where they primed 40 panels for the group, painted their Splash mobile and helped to organize their studio, said Heather Buggee, founder and executive director of Splashes of Hope.
“You can feel the love at Coindre Hall,” Seven said. “We walked away from there full of paint and full of love. We were honored to help them. It was nothing but fun. We will continue to donate our time to them whenever we can. We also constructed some videos, which are on YouTube (Spirit of Splashing! http://youtu.be/fI2Y6uIfmJI) that show what Splashes of Love does. We want to help everyone learn about them.”
Buggee started the organization in 1996, after visiting a close friend who was in the hospital fighting Hodgkins lymphoma.
“That was the first time I got introduced to the hospital environment and I noticed how stark and sterile it was there. I wanted to make it more therapeutic. I wanted to soothe and uplift the environment,” Buggee said. “I felt helpless. I wanted to help reduce the stress and the fear in the treatment and emergency rooms, especially for the children. I’m not smart enough to be a doctor or a scientist. I’m just a painter. So I went to a children’s hospital and asked what I could do. A nurse there gave me ceiling tiles to paint.”
And that was how it all began. At first, the Splashes of Hope team of artists painted directly on the walls of the facility, working around the schedules of patients and staff. More recently, they started painting their murals in their own studio, in Coindre Hall here in Huntington, so that the murals can be moved and re-installed if a facility itself moves or undergoes construction. Each hospital or facility tells Splashes of Hope what type of theme they would like to see on their walls.
Now Splashes of Hope has expanded its audience and also paints for nursing homes and veterans homes. They are also nationwide, having “splashed 27 states to date,” said Buggee.
Buggee said that Benjamin Moore donates all the paint that Splashes of Hope needs, and Southwest Airlines has flown them gratis to install murals in Texas, Florida, California and New Mexico. They have their own Splashes of Hope van for drivable locations.
They created an 80-page activity and coloring book for pediatric patients and are looking for sponsors, so that they can create more books, especially now that the holiday season is approaching. The organization also needs volunteers for their weekly hand painting at various hospitals, including Winthrop, Southside, Stony Brook University and St. Charles, where someone paints the pediatric patients’ hands. And they are always looking for more muralists.
The Masquerade Ball fundraiser costs $105 in advance and $125 at the door. There will be an open bar, dinner, prizes, raffles, a crazy costume contest, body painting and a silent art auction.
If you purchase 10 tickets, you get two free. To purchase tickets, go to www.splashesofhope.org