‘Mosaics of Medicine Caps’ brighten spirits at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora


AURORA |  Three years, hundreds of hours, dozens of hot glue guns, and thousands of medicine caps. That’s what went into “CAPtivating Creations”, an art exhibition at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

21 medicine cap mosaics span the length of a long hallway, each one drawing in the viewer with explosive color and stunning imagery.

The exhibition is held in the Frederic C. Hamilton Fine Art Gallery on the first floor of Children’s Hospital Colorado. The Gallery is curated by the hospital’s Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Team and holds up to five exhibitions a year. “CAPtivating Creations” is among the gallery’s most popular exhibitions.

“These are pieces of art created solely with medicine caps from our emergency department and our pharmacy,” said Katherine Reed, Creative Arts Therapy Program Manager.

Thousands of caps were used, too many to count. None have been painted, the vial caps come in every color of the rainbow.

“Originally this exhibition was about recycling because we use a lot of medicine here at Children’s Hospital,” explained Reed. “So really these are an example of ways we can make art out of anything.”

Viewing piece after piece, it’s sobering to realize that every one of the caps used represents a child who received care at the hospital.

“Coming together with all of these children and all of this help, [these pieces] are incredibly symbolic of the mission of Children’s Hospital, which is to come together to help kids feel better,” Reed said with a smile.

Part of what makes “CAPtivating Creations” so special are the artists themselves, who are all hospital staff members.

“All the folks who work at Children’s Hospital got the chance to come together as different teams and create something that represented their team,” said Reed.

For example, the inpatient pulmonary unit created, “We BeLUNG Together” featuring a giant set of lungs on a blue background. The medical interpreters team created “Las Monarcas”, a stunning piece that shows several monarch butterflies, representing the journey many patients take to receive care at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

“I think this project gave our team members a chance to have some respite from a really tough year with COVID and all of the restrictions that it presented, including the masks we’re wearing today,” explained Reed.

Several of the hospital’s teams were sent to work from home during the height of COVID-19 but were able to work on the mosaics remotely.

“It’s about bringing people together during Coronavirus when we couldn’t physically be together,” said Jasmine Chu, the Arts Coordinator.

One piece is a testament to the resilience of the past year. It’s a giant heart containing the phrase “Thank you CHCO”, made entirely of pink and purple caps. The caps are all from vials containing COVID-19 vaccines that went to staff and community members.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the gallery is closed to the public, but the exhibition will be up for staff, patients, and patient families to view for another two weeks.

When the show comes down, “the pieces will be returned to the teams that created them, and they’ll find a special place for them here at the hospital,” said Chu.

The gallery’s next exhibition, “The Power of Family”, will feature all local artists and go up in celebration of Hispanic Heritage month in a few weeks.