Our educational art programs in visual arts, creative writing, and music decrease patient stress and anxiety, keep patients active and engaged, and help families cope with the realities of illness during the most difficult times of their lives. They turn hospital rooms into artist studios where children can focus on building a tile mosaic, writing a poem, or crafting a song—not on the pricks, pokes, and treatments they’re about to receive.

Patients and families visiting pediatric clinics and inpatient units count on our three art programs to help them through their healthcare experiences, which we are able to offer thanks to the help of participants in our volunteer, internship, and teaching fellowship programs.

Clinic Art Tables

Fully-equipped, instructor-run Arts For Life art stations are permanent parts of the hospital and clinic setting in each of our chapters. When patients arrive for their appointments, they make a beeline to the art table, knowing that fabric and glue, markers and glitter, and paper and paint await. With their teachers, these children learn and develop their art, music, and writing skills while making friends with other patients and exploring their talents. Being active at the art stations enables patients and their siblings to stay focused and positive during what could otherwise be long, frustrating hours of waiting for and receiving treatments.

Bedside Studios

Often, patients spend days, weeks, or months at a time in their hospital rooms, so Arts For Life teachers take their art projects “on the road”! They travel from bedside to bedside, teaching these young students everything from the guitar to sculpture. In working with their instructors, patients and their siblings experience success as they learn new artistic skills, express ideas and emotions, and build self-confidence.

Art Groups and Special Events

Our mission is to incorporate art into the hospital setting in every way possible. In addition to our regular clinic stations and bedside visits, we often host special support groups, art parties, sibling days, art shows, and summer camps at partner locations to help patients meet one another and interact in a fun, supportive environment.

About our art lessons:
Curriculum for our art programs is expertly designed to teach patients new skills, help them explore materials, keep them active, and provide opportunities for them to express and communicate their thoughts and experiences. Program directors choose monthly themes—such as “food and farms,” “local artists,” and “storytelling”—and then create dynamic weekly projects for students based around those themes. They also often develop special projects and lesson curriculum for individual patients, to best meet their needs and interests. Coming soon, you can visit the Lessons section of our blog for art projects to recreate at home.