St. Vincent Family Centers will host its first Les Jouets de l'Esprit auction and exhibit Friday at Thom's on Grandview Restaurant and Bar, 1470 Grandview Ave.

St. Vincent Family Centers will host its first Les Jouets de l'Esprit auction and exhibit Friday at Thom's on Grandview Restaurant and Bar, 1470 Grandview Ave.

Children who are students or clients of St. Vincent have been paired with central Ohio artists to create the pieces of art that will be auctioned at 7 p.m. Friday.

St. Vincent is a pediatric behavioral health care center that serves children with severe emotional and behavioral problems.

The art pieces for Les Jouets de l'Esprit (The Toys of the Mind) were created using soft-body genderless dolls, called trauma dolls, said Susan Black, St. Vincent's vice president/advancement.

"Because the dolls have no features, the artists and children were able to do what ever they wanted with them," she said.

The idea for the project and event was inspired by a similar fundraising event held in Belgium by the Luxembourg-Belgium Kiwanis Club, Black said. In the Belgium event, however, international artists worked alone to create their art objects of the dolls.

"We wanted to do a project that had something to do with our children," she said. "We didn't want to just sell something. We wanted to sell something that had meaningÉ

"This project has a therapeutic benefit for the children," she said. "Many of them have had little or no exposure to art.

"With the help of our volunteer artists, they were really able to create objects that reflect things that are in their heart and they are passionate about," she said. "We wanted the dolls to be reflective of the wholeness, health, wellness and spirit of children."

Sculptor Renate Burgyan-Fackler helped a St. Vincent student create a doll that looks like Tom Brady, his favorite football player.

"He said he wanted to make a police officer, a firefighter or a football player," she said. "He said he'd like to be a pro football player someday, so he decided to make the doll look like his favorite player. It made it a meaningful project for him."

The soft-cloth doll was coated with a type of polymer clay that goes by the brand name Sculpey, Burgyan-Fackler said. The clay is molded and put into a conventional oven to harden.

Burgyan-Fackler said she and the student worked on the project during three one-hour sessions.

"I loved it," she said. "I have children of my own. It's nice to offer my world of art to children."

Her young partner had never painted before, Burgyan-Fackler said.

"That was hard for me to imagine because being involved with art is second nature for my children," she said. "It was a really neat experience to get to share (the joy of art) with him."

The student was proud of the doll they created, Burgyan-Fackler said. She gave him a sample piece of clay to take home and work with.

The pieces created by the artist and St. Vincent children will be displayed Saturday at Dance Plus Ballroom, 1255 Grandview Ave., during the Grandview Art Hop event.

Black said St. Vincent would like to make Les Jouets de l'Esprit an annual event.