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 The Rialto Jean Project



The Rialto Jean Project Partners with Children's Hospital Los Angeles to Provide Art Therapy to Help Heal our Children

July 24th, 2013 (Los Angeles, CA) - Erin Feniger, Designer and Co-Founder of The Rialto Jean Project (RJP), announced today that the brand has partnered with Children's Hospital Los Angeles to provide funding for the hospital's art therapy program by establishing the Rialto Jean Project Endowment for Art Therapy. 

"This generous donation from The Rialto Jean Project addresses a key priority here at Children's Hospital; providing a creative outlet for our patients to express their feelings in a way that empowers them to benefit their health outcomes," says DeAnn Marshall, senior vice president, chief development and marketing officer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "We are incredibly thankful for their gift and look forward to a partnership that will help our sick kids get better."

The Rialto Jean Project benefits children through art, working directly with hospitals and organizations to support art therapy programs in Los Angeles, with plans to expand across the United States as well as internationally in the coming years. RJP stands behind the proven theory that art can help young patients find a sense of hope, increase self- esteem, autonomy and competence, while offering opportunities to express their feelings safely and providing a solid foundation for healing.

Through the Rialto Jean Project Endowment for Art Therapy, Children's Hospital Los Angeles will benefit from additional resources to further the hospital's longstanding work incorporating art therapy to aid the healing process and benefit the lives of patients being treated at the hospital.

In 1991, the hospital founded the Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program, a comprehensive, innovative, multidisciplinary effort to apply visual arts, music, dance and expressive art therapy to a pediatric medical setting. By combining the dynamic energy of local artists and performers with the specialized therapeutic training of registered and certified art therapists, this form of therapy helps patients and families express and address their thoughts and feelings regarding illness and hospitalization. In addition, art therapy programs have played a proven role in the healing of patients by helping alleviate pain, improving moods and accelerating recovery time.

"Art therapy provides the opportunity for the patient to be empowered and make choices about what they want to share through their artwork," says Nicole Albers, a Children's Hospital Art Therapist.  "When I work with a patient for the first time, I explain sometimes it's hard to talk about what's going on in the hospital. There are a lot of adults here making decisions about what is best for you. Art Therapy gives you a way to express yourself in a different way. You get to be in charge of what we do, and you get to make all the choices."

Art therapy at Children's Hospital Los Angeles is funded completely through philanthropic partners such as RJP. The Rialto Jean Project Endowment Fund will not only provide much-needed resources to aid the growth of art therapy but also will bring attention to Children's Hospital, ranked among the top five pediatric medical facilities in the country. 

"We are excited and thrilled to be able to announce today our partnership with Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Our mission at The Rialto Jean Project is 'Denim Doing Good.' We at RJP work directly with hospitals and organizations to bring needed art therapy to children around the country. This is not just another fashion line with a social conscious; for each pair of jeans that are created and sold, the Rialto Jean Project will donate a portion of the sale to programs that bring therapeutic art to children.

The focus of the endowment fund that has been created with Children's Hospital is committed to enhancing the art therapy program that impacts sick children's lives in their coping and healing process. This is a project that I hold dear to my heart. I feel so extremely fortunate to be involved in a program so unique and leading edge and to be part of something that is making a difference in the lives of children and their healing. It is a truly inspiring and touching place.  Erin Feniger, Designer and Co-Founder of the Rialto Jean Project.

The Rialto Jean Project is one of LA's hottest new denim lines with A-list actors, musicians, and models on the list of RJP's large fan base. Because of the philanthropic heart of LA's hippest brand, RJP receives rave reviews from their celebrity followers and customers alike. Giada De Laurentis recently wore a mommy and me version with her daughter proclaiming to her slew of twitter followers her love for the brand and all that it represents.

Each pair of RJP jean products is unique, with hand-painted styles in every cut and shade of denim; ranging from distressed to clean-cut, and available in a rainbow of colors, and also for shorts and skirts. As the line continues to grow, the mission remains the same: give back to the art therapy community that inspired not only the brand but also its co-founder and designer who suffers from a rare autoimmune disease. The Rialto Jean Project is a labor of love; it not only aims to heal others, but also quite literally heals its own staff, all of whom share in the passion and the belief in the power of imagination and creativity.

The immediate goals of the RJP and Children's Hospital Los Angeles partnership include providing additional art therapy staff; giving isolated and long-term patients an ability to communicate with others through the use of Skype and Facetime on iPads; providing MacBook Pro laptops for use in therapy sessions involving graphic illustration and design, music composition and more; and donating art supplies, Photoshop software, projectors and video cameras to the hospital.

These contributions to the hospital's art therapy program will help children express feelings they might not otherwise be willing to share with words. By creating their own images that depict their fears and anxieties, patients can release some of those negative feelings and focus on hope and optimism, benefitting their recovery.

"It's not about making 'good art,'" Albers says. "It's about expressing yourself through the art making process. Sometimes, the 'ugliest' art can be the most therapeutic because patients are sharing emotions they can't describe with words."

Art therapy puts children in control of the art they create. They are able to dictate the materials they use, the images they produce and the way a piece of art turns out. When life feels out of control for a hospitalized child, having control over something they created from the heart can be empowering. It is the goal of both the Rialto Jean Project and Children's Hospital Los Angeles to continue to bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of these brave and deserving children by supporting a program that provides a creative outlet of expression and comfort in a time of need.

About Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children's hospital on the West Coast and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children's Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children's Hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

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joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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