This holiday season, AIGA Maine is distributing its first Design for Good project, “Imaginative ME,” to children throughout Maine who are facing a health or life crisis.

“Imaginative ME” is a 32-page un-coloring book dedicated to the children of Maine and produced by the organization with the help of 27 contributing Maine artists, as well as Penmor Lithographers and Lindenmyer Monroe, which donated the printing and paper.

The book is being given to patients at children’s hospitals and to young people in need across Maine, with the hope that this simple gift will comfort and encourage kids, during their hospital stay and beyond, to be creative thinkers. AIGA Maine plans to distribute 5,000 books to children’s hospitals and organizations across the state before the holidays.

Instead of staying within the lines, un-coloring books encourage children of all ages to draw from their own imaginations through prompts such as, “Design a poster to advertise your favorite movie.” This out-of-the-box thinking is designed to stimulate creativity, encourage problem solving, enable critical thinking and inspire later literacy.

Karan Cushman of the Port Clyde-based Cushman Creative, AIGA Maine’s Design for Good director, delivered the first batch of un-coloring books to Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at a public launch this summer.

“We’re thrilled to unveil ‘Imaginative ME.’ It was important to our board that this first DFG project not only celebrate design and support the community, but that it have a purpose ‘or shelf-life’ for years to come,” Cushman said.

Scott Nash, chairman of the illustration program at Maine College of Art, was the chosen as the cover artist; his submission is titled “If the Earth Were Hollow, What Would Be Inside?” Other contributing Maine artists are Cushman, Camden’s Chris Van Dusen, Josh Alves, Ileana Appleton, Matthew Bernier, Kavya Bhanupriya, Keith Bush, Stephanie Chaisson, Sarah Degrandis, Dan Edwards, Emily Felger, Emma Fitzgerald, Brooke Hamilton, Ryan T. Higgins, Chris Jacobs, Robyn Kanner, Kelly Lunnie, Theodora Medouris, Chris Moore, Natalie Nordstrom, Hannah Rosengren, Erin Smith, Tim Sposato, Matt Tavares, Karalyn Thayer and Arielle Walrath.

Headquartered in New York City, AIGA was founded in 1914 as the American Institute of Graphic Arts and is considered today the professional association for design, with 70 chapters worldwide. Design for Good is a national AIGA initiative that brings together creative professionals and utilizes the power of design to support people, communities and causes through projects that have positive social impact.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.