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Conquest - Fall 2013

Children's Art Project celebrates 40th anniversary

By William Fitzgerald

The Children’s Art Project provides an opportunity to support special programs for
MD Anderson patients.
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Photo: F. Carter Smith

When a small group of volunteers began selling holiday cards inspired by artwork from MD Anderson’s young patients back in 1973, little did they know their efforts would lay the foundation for big things to come.

They were the pioneers of what would become the Children’s Art Project (CAP), a year-round program dedicated to bringing the creativity of children to life in gift merchandise, ranging from ornaments to cell phone covers and much more.

“It’s incredible to look at the history of this program and its accomplishments,” says Shannan Murray, CAP’s executive director.

“We’ve given back more than $30 million, which has allowed us to support numerous programs benefiting the educational and recreational needs of our patients.”

For those in metropolitan Houston, the CAP Boutique in the Uptown Park Shopping Center has become the go-to spot for purchasing the latest gifts. It’s also the best place to get the full CAP experience.

  1. Stationery, $8-$16, is the mainstay of each CAP collection. From greeting cards to photo cards to personalized cards, there’s much from which to choose.
  2. Shannan Murray is the third executive director of the program after joining in 1997. Under her leadership, CAP has expanded and currently sells products in more than 2,100 retail locations in 11 states.
  3. In the background, CAP intern Katelyn Vonderheide arranges displays.
  4. AmREIT, Gexa Energy and Cooper Industries have all generously contributed over the years by covering some of the store’s operational costs, including rent.
  5. Patients are the core of CAP’s mission and displays proudly inform customers about the children behind the artwork. Pictured here is Bandar Alfadhel, 13, a prolific artist who says the program, “helped me get over the mountain.”
  6. Doug Burchfield, a longtime MD Anderson volunteer and store manager, assists a customer. Last year, CAP volunteers provided nearly 500,000 hours of service, which equates to the work of more than 230 full-time employees.
  7. The Holly Boot Radko Ornament, $50, is one of the best-selling pieces in CAP’s ever-growing ornament collection. Each is crafted and hand painted in Poland.
  8. Bee Flowers Domino Necklace, $28, was created by Kierra Hill, a longtime artist known for her colorful designs. Several other necklaces are also available, and many are based on seasonal themes.
  9. Ties, $38, come in a variety of designs and are part of CAP’s apparel collection, which also includes scarves, shirts, aprons and more.
  10. The CAP Boutique is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to
    6 p.m. with extended holiday hours on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., beginning Oct. 13.

To learn more about CAP and its products, or to place an order, call 800-231-1580 or visit

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center