Our arts programs decrease stress and anxiety, keep patients active and engaged, and help bring families joy and connection during often difficult times in the hospital. Arts For Life staffvolunteers, and interns, turn hospital rooms into creative studios where children and teenagers can paint, draw, build, write, sing and play. Arts For Life’s visual art projects, music sessions and other opportunities to be creative are all specially tailored for pediatric patients and their families.

Children and teenagers being treated at our partner hospitals can count on Arts For Life programs to support them through their healthcare experiences, all at absolutely no cost to them or their families.

Hospital-Based Programs

In-person, hospital-based arts programs are the foundation of Arts For Life, quite literally meeting patients and families where they are. Arts For Life art tables are permanent fixtures in outpatient clinics and waiting rooms in our partner hospitals. Here, staff and volunteers facilitate creative activities for patients while they are waiting for an appointment, lab test or a medical treatment. Arts For Life believes that art is for everyone, and so anyone who accompanies a patient to an appointment – whether a sibling, cousin, guardian, parent, grandparent, a best friend – is also welcome to participate at the art table.

When young patients need to stay overnight or stay in their room at the hospital — sometimes for months at a time — Arts For Life programs come directly to their bedside. Staff and volunteers knock on doors and bring materials to patients for one-on-one creative sessions in their hospital rooms. We call these bedside studios and they offer patients the unique opportunity not only to deepen and explore their creative interests, but also to exercise autonomy, choice, and control. When possible, group art tables and music jam sessions can take place in communal playrooms where patients can join in the creative fun with one another.

In addition to these core hospital-based programs, Arts For Life may provide other creative opportunities to patients and families as requested by care teams — including support groups, community gatherings, and special hospital events.

Remote Programs

Arts For Life knows that creativity and the arts can make a huge impact for young people, even beyond the hospital walls. When families are not getting treated in one of our partner hospitals, are at home, or are unable to have visitors, Arts For Life offers asynchronous creative programs to keep patients active and engaged in the arts.

Developed by Arts For Life staff and based on experience we gained over two decades of providing arts programming in pediatric hospitals, Artivity Kits are self-contained art kits designed specifically with young patients in mind. Each themed Artivity kit design contains enough materials, project ideas, and resources for more than four hours of self-guided art-making.

Additionally, Arts For Life has a robust archive of video lessons featuring both visual arts and music lessons which are designed to be completed with the most basic of materials. Young artists can follow along with these lessons on their own time, whenever and wherever they want to be creative.

Patients and families can also sign up for Arts For Life’s newsletter, which delivers lessons, resources, and inspiration directly to their inboxes each month.

Some Arts For Life chapters offer creativity on call lessons: live virtual lessons taught via zoom by trained Arts For Life staff members.