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New Creative Care Program Brings Art to Families at Miami Children’s Hospital

From the Editor's Desk 

Free Art Classes, Storytelling, Literature and Puppetry for Children Undergoing Medical Treatment  Picture1

Drawing on its 30-year legacy of leadership in community outreach, ArtCenter/South Florida announces Creative Care, its newest program to help children and families (in partnership with The Center for Literature and Theater at Miami Dade College and Miami Children’s Hospital at the Michael Fux Family Center).

Artists with experience teaching children will provide free interactive art projects, storytelling and puppetry to youth undergoing medical treatments (plus their families). The program is designed to make art activities available to children who are confined in hospitals with limited mobility and no access to cultural programming or creative activities.  

Funding for the new Creative Care program is provided by The Children's Trust and by The Miami Foundation. Studies show the benefits of art activities for children in hospitals, because they relieve the anxiety and stress of medical treatments and alleviate the boredom of hospital stays by engaging the child’s mind. These activities incorporate fine motor skills and complement physical therapies.

Because illness and treatment can be very distressing to children, parents, siblings and caregivers, families who are coping with serious medical treatments benefit by developing new expressive skills to utilize in the battles against depression and anxiety that can challenge healing and wellness during long-term medical treatments.

Picture2Creative Care will be free of charge to all patients and their family members. Two one-hour sessions per month will feature interactive storytelling, award winning children’s literature,  plus hands-on art projects exploring sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing.

The program is led by Tammy Key (ArtCenter’s Education Director); Pablo Cano(Cintas Award-winning puppeteer & teaching artist); Mij Byram (popular local storyteller), and teaching artist Jena Thomas. 

My own personal experience overcoming cancer as a young adult – and how I was able to use my art studies and creative expression to get through this difficult time – drives my passion for ArtCenter’s programs to help children and families in need,” said Tammy Key, ArtCenter/South Florida’s education director.

“There is such a proven connection between art and healing," said the Director of Patient and Family Services & The Michael Fux Center at Miami Children's Hospital, Janet Bell-Taylor. "Engaging children who are in treatment for serious medical illnesses with the creative arts helps the entire family. The evidence shows that art-based interventions are effective in reducing adverse physiological and psychological outcomes."  

ArtCenter/South Florida is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, and is renowned for its rich history of local leadership in community outreach, and diverse regional programming. This includes previous programs that featured free weekly art classes to patients receiving treatment at Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami Beach and Memorial Cancer Institute in Hollywood, Florida (with funding provided by Wells Fargo and the Dade Community Foundation). ArtCenter has also worked with at-risk youths through the Art Corps program and Miami Job Corps, providing free art lessons.


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