NEW YORK, NY -- During many lengthy stays at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Brittany Beckmann gained tremendous joy and comfort from her participation in the hospital’s art therapy program, and she became close with many of the doctors, nurses, staff members and patients.
On Friday, June 3, Brittany’s family and hospital officials ensured that Brittany’s spirit – and the artwork of pediatric patients – would always be on display. Together, they unveiled “The Children’s Gallery,” a permanent display of children’s art dedicated in honor of Brittany, who was 24 when she lost her battle with leukemia in 2014.
Brittany’s family underwrote the creation of The Children’s Gallery in appreciation of the expert and compassionate care she received at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network and the children’s hospital of the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County. Brittany was 16 when she first became a patient at the hospital. She went on to graduate from SUNY Cortland with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, even as she received treatment.
“The program was really therapeutic for her,” said Kelly Carpinone, Brittany’s mother, who was among several family members who attended the dedication. “She enjoyed it so much. Even during the periods when she was in isolation, they would bring an easel into her room. And her paintings really showed how she was feeling.”
Artwork from Brittany and other Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital patients was on display Friday, with new works to be rotated in seasonally. Several of the young artists and their families attended the dedication.
Among the hospital staff members who attended Friday’s event was Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s board certified art therapist, Gabrielle Grimaldi Bellettieri, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT,CGP who launched the art therapy program in 2006. Bellettieri was the driving force behind the creation of the gallery, and she will act as its curator.
Brittany Beckmann“So many of us became close with Brittany during her time here,” Bellettieri said. “She went through so much, but she always had a positive outlook. The art therapy program was really a great way for her to express herself and how she was feeling. And she was like a mentor to a lot of the patients. Since she was older than most of them, she took them under her wing, and they really looked up to her.”
The gallery also features a plaque noting Brittany’s impact as “a warm and talented artist who brought laughter and joy to all she met.” It includes a quote from Brittany that provides a window into her soul.
“Every hardship is an opportunity for growth and knowledge,” it reads. “Embrace every experience & look on the bright side. Everything happens for a reason. There’s a plan for you! Follow it.”