A novel artistic virtual reality (VR) environment was developed and tested for use as a rehabilitation protocol for post-stroke hand rehabilitation therapy. The system was developed by an interdisciplinary team of engineers, art therapists, occupational therapists, and VR artists to improve patients' motivation and engagement. Specific exercises were developed to explicitly promote the practice of therapeutic tasks requiring hand and arm coordination for upper extremity rehabilitation. Here we describe system design, development, and user testing for efficiency, subject's satisfaction and clinical feasibility. We report results of the completed qualitative, pre-clinical pilot study of the system effectiveness for therapy. Fourteen stroke survivors with chronic hemiparesis participated in a single training session within the environment to gauge user response to the protocol through a custom survey. Results indicate that users found the system comfortable, enjoyable, tiring; instructions clear, and reported a high level of satisfaction with the VR environment and rehabilitation task variety and difficulty. Most patients reported very positive impressions of the VR environment and rated it highly, appreciating its engagement and motivation. We are currently conducting a longitudinal intervention study over 6 weeks in stroke survivors with chronic hemiparesis. Initial results following use of the system on the first subjects demonstrate that the system is operational and can facilitate therapy for post stroke patients with upper extremity impairment.