Children's Hospitals can be places of noticeable tension, where the struggles, fears and hopes of patients, families and staff make for a stressful experience. At a time like this, people realize that healing goes beyond curing the body. At various children's hospital locations, The Art For Life Foundation offers various arts programs to pick up where medicine stops to help guide patients through recovery. Now in our 15th year with locations in eight states and Washington, DC our Art for Life programs have become an integral part of several children's hospital services and are recognized throughout these organizations as an important adjunct to educational, developmental, recreational and psychosocial support services. Our programs provide inclusive, interactive, therapeutic art activities that help normalize the hospital experience for kids. All patients are encouraged to participate, regardless of physical limitations. Our programs work either in a group environment or in one-on-one sessions with the objective to provide a nurturing and inspirational creative experience to every child. Not all of our programs are in children's hospitals. We work with a juvenile courthouse and with a childrens hospice/respite location, however all of our programs work with children using art as an effective tool - empowering them and often times their siblings and family members - to actively participate in their own healing process.
We exist and rely on donations to do our work. Please send donations to us at Art for Life Foundation, PO Box 162, Clayton, CA 94517 or click our online donation button below. Thank you!
In 2004 Art for Life was inducted into the Bertha Wright Society at Children's Hospital, Oakland. The award. We have been helping children at this hospital since 1998. See our 85 foot tile wall at Children's Hospital, Oakland here.
Art While You Wait: - Children's Hospital, Oakland, CA - Hasbro Children's Hospital, Providence, RI. - Kapi'olani Women and Children's Medical Center, Honolulu, HI - Mass General for Children at North Shore Medical Center, Salem, MA - American Family Children's Hosptal, Madison, WI- Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, Houston, TX - Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, NY
In any hospital emergency room, waiting areas tend to be places where the fears and hopes or simple boredom of patients and their families can make for a stressful experience.
This award-winning Art for Life program, designed, created and overseen nationwide by founder Anthony Knutson provides a variety of art and crafts materials and guided projects for patients and their siblings waiting for treatment in the Emergency Department. Beyond being fun, the creative process offers kids an outlet to explore and understand emotions such as nervousness and fear. This also has a positive effect on the medical staff making for a more positive and less stressful environment to work in. Art While You Wait has also been recognized by the medical staff at it's locations as a valid intervention program.This program is also offered in some of our locations in other waiting areas where there is a need for art prior to a procedure or treatment. Honolulu, Hawaii; Madison, Wisconsin and Oakland, California offer this program in two locations. If you are interested in this program at your Children's Hospital, please click here. See an artmobile project from our project guide: Click here! Take a lo ok at one of our Artmobiles! Click here.! See one of our amazing Child Life Specialists in our program located in Houston, Texas who represent our many dedicated Art While You Wait volunteers! Read about our award-winning program in the new book: Transforming the Healthcare Experience Through the Arts. Click here to be directed to the Art and Healthcare website for information on this publication and how to purchase your own copy.
Interesting fact: In our Rhode Island Art While You Wait program in the ER - 92 percent of patients surveyed who participated experienced reduced pain and anxiety. One 7 year old exclaimed - " I was too busy to feel pain!"
- Mobile - Can be at a variety of hospital locations.
-Lamoreaux Juvenile Justice Center - Victim/Witness Assistance Program, Orange, CA.
Now in our 13th year!
Located in the Children's Chambers for 13 years and now as of July 2011 located in Victim/Witness Assistance, this program began in 2000 from the simple question asked to the children: What do you want to have to take with you when you leave court today? Their response: Coloring books and crayons. The program provides coloring books and crayons to over 200 children each month, many who will go directly into foster care and some who have never enjoyed the luxury of owning their own crayons and coloring book. Art is a part of a child's life. It was their wish and we never underestimate the power of a child's wish. Art for Life also provides a VHS and DVD library, CD player and art supplies. Art for Life's partnership with the Community Service Program (CSP) that opened this location in May of 1992 is a very rewarding one. After 11 years of sharing our vision, together we have helped over 17,000 children leave the facility with coloring books & crayons along with the understanding that they are important. The Children's Chambers staff for 11 years was Luz Herrera, Robin Harris & Maggie Corbin who made this space a safe and loving haven for all the kids that visit. Here is a photo montage of an Art for Life visit to celebrate our fourth year(2004) of programming in the Children's Chambers. Note that all the artwork on the walls was done by Luz and Robin using art supplies provided by Art for Life. They both feel that children feel more safe and secure in a room that is filled with color and love! Update: With the closure of Children's Chambers on June 30, 2011, this program continues directly supervised by Maggie Corbin in the Victim/Witness Assistance Program located in room 408. We help kids who are victims of all crimes ages 0-17. Art for Life site director: Anthony Knutson
Vickie & Friends: 12th Year! -Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Twenty-Seven years of experience with ceramics in the same class with the same women is quite an accomplishment. Now add to that the desire to take that experience and bring it each month to children in a children's hospital and what you have is truly a gift of love. Vickie Geistkemper, program director of Vickie & Friends began bringing ceramics to Children's Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska in 2001. Since then she and her friends have helped over 1,895 children to paint ceramics and with each piece helped them to move through whatever illness they may have while sharing the joy of life through color. Each month Vickie selects a fun theme for the kids. They have painted June Bugs in June, Hearts in February and Pumpkins in October. However, no matter what the theme they always keep plenty of cats and dogs on hand as they seem to be the kids favorites! Vickie & Friends reaches out to children in group setting and also offers personal attention bedside so no child is left out who wants to participate. Siblings, parents and even grandparents are encouraged to participate and often do! The success of this program in Nebraska inspired us to begin a similar one: Ceramics & Kids! -Oakland, CA in 2003. That inspiration continues with our other Ceramics & Kids! locations. Vickie & Friends just celebrated over 5 years at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE where Vickie along with program co-director Cindy Nelson continue to bring the love and joy of ceramic arts to kids each month. AFL site director and visiting guest artist: Anthony Knutson. See us: Click here! . Our program featured in the news: WOWT Channel 6 in Omaha featured this program in March of 2007. Thanks to Tracy Madden co-anchor of the news for such a wonderful story on us! To see a photo of this newscast click here!
Oakland - Children's Hospital & Research Center, Oakland, CA.
A love of ceramics and a strong desire to help a hospital that once helped their children, Holly and Paul Kersis joined our Art for Life family as program directors in 2003 and in doing so helped bring a much loved program that began in Omaha (See Vickie & Friends)to the wonderful children at Children's Hospital, Oakland. Cats and Dogs, Hippos and Alligators, Mermaids and dinosaurs... with each month there is a new theme and with it new inspiration from the children in how to paint the various pieces that go with it. The excitement children have when painting is amazing. This program is offered once a month in the School program. Working in the classroom, this program provides an important link to offering art as part of a child's school curriculum. Working under the Child Life umbrella as well it also addresses the importance of allowing children to express themselves creatively and achieve what we at Art for Life believe is a way to help heal children on both an emotional and physical level through therapeutic play. Children who participate in the program each month are there for many health reasons from life-threatening to any serious condition that requires hospitalization and yet when it is 'Art for Life ' time in the schoolroom as many as 50 children from every level of the hospital including ICU, IPU and even bedside participants choose to join in and create art making it one of the most successful ongoing arts programs at Children's Hospital in Oakland. Since it began in April of 2003 this program has reached over 4,100 children and its success helped us to launch further program locations . An amazing moment from this program: one child painted an alligator and in handing it to his father announced with a big grin that two things were finished that day: Art and Chemo! Amazing! AFL site director and artist: Anthony Knutson
The Clayton Community Library, Clayton, CA. Celebrating our 10th year!
What better place for children to display their own art than in a library where art lives in almost every book. Located in the children's section of the library, Art For Life began displaying a permanent gallery of art in August 2003. This isn't just any children's art but art that has been created by the many children in our programs. These are art projects that show us a visual journey of their healing. This is the art that has helped them to heal through self-expression. It is a pleasure to be able to offer this special showing to the city of Clayton. When you are in the area please stop by and share in this wonderful journey of healing through art. We know that it will touch your heart and inspire your soul to reach out and help bring more programs like this to the children in your library community. Anthony Knutson creates the display, provides the artwork and rotates the exhibit. www.claytonlibrary.org
Ceramics & Kids! - Concord - John Muir Behavioral Health Center, Concord, CA.
With the opening of Ceramics & Kids - Concord on April 28, 2004, Art for Life ventured into a new field for us in the medical arena: Behavioral Health Psychiatric Services.
Offered once a month, this program works with children ages 4-12 and adolescents ages 13-18. The focus is on helping to bring the healing and therapeutic abilities offered through the art experience into the milieu therapy already offered at the John Muir Behavioral Health Center.
Ceramics & Kids - Concord, is a part of the Health Center's Expressive Arts Therapy Program. Working closely with the staff and the creative therapist it directly addresses two identifiable key experiences that are an important part of psychiatric healing for children: Group Art Therapy and Individual Expression. Being in a group setting creating art encourages interaction among the children as well as the staff. This promotes an important sense of belonging and allows the children to feel they have a place in the unit. Individual expression is achieved through the piece of unique art that is created by each child. As we always say in Art for Life..Art gives children a voice, let's listen to what they have to say! AFL Program Director: Anthony Knutson and the onsite Recreation Therapy Staff all work together to bring with them each month a genuine love, passion and heartfelt desire to give all the children onsite the opportunity to explore self- expression and healing through art.
Studio: Art! - John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, CA. See a project: Click here!
Created and facilitated by founder of Art for Life and artist: Anthony Knutson - in 2004, this program is offered each month with co-director Elizabeth Martin as a part of an ongoing pediatric oncology support group. An important motto of the Art for Life Foundation and all of its programs is: Children and art: working together, creating together and healing together. Having fun creates a healing atmosphere. This program embraces that concept. Each child and teenager selects from a variety of art projects something that they can create to show their own unique artistic vision. Each project is designed to be created and completed in one session. Anthony is also available for Studio: Art! appointments with kids and families at bedside. Since April of 2006, John Muir and Art for Life celebrate the art done in this program with an ongoing art gallery display located in pediatrics oncology. One of Anthony's favorite poets was Mattie J.T. Stepanek. He had a philosophy that also finds a home here in Studio: Art!. Mattie lived his almost 14 years of life struggling with illness and yet his own philosophy in his life was always... "Remember to play after every storm."
Artfelt Moments and Tiles & Tales - George Mark Children's House, San Leandro, Ca: Nebraska Medical Center via Vickie & Friends, Omaha, NE
In the experience of hospice, every moment is valuable. Therefore, what is chosen to do in every moment is important. At Art for Life, we believe art can be used to fill valuable moments with a joy that comes from personal self-expression. Art can be used to share a memory, a laugh or reflect a life. Art can be used to make a difference in any moment in time. Artfelt Moments brings the experience of hospice and art together creating the opportunity for all those who participate to express who they are, show how they feel and share important moments of time together. There are four main Artfelt Moment Experiences in this program: Patient Moments, Sibling Moments, Family Shared Moments and After a Passing Moments. Art offered in each of these moments focuses on a different journey in the hospice experience. When we place art into any of these moments we are placing a piece of who we are inside of them. We are saying – this is who I am. Those who receive the gift of that art will find that person and their love…every time they touch it. In 2006 a new addition to this program is the Artfelt Moments Tiles & Tales program with our Art for Life Children's Remembrance Wall. Families who have had a child pass away at George Mark work with this program to create a tile piece in their memory. The Children's Remembrance Wall is located in a garden setting at George Mark. C0-directors: Anthony Knutson and Rosalie Gazzola bring love and the joy of sharing healing art to this wonderful program. View this very special wall here. View our Certificate of Dedication for the Art for Life Foundation's Children's Remembrance Wall here. Below is a quote that represents the many wonderful responses we receive from participating families in this program.
Sacramento - Shriners Hospitals for Children® - Northern California, Sacramento, CA.
Sharing the Shriner's love of volunteerism and commitment to treating a child's body, mind and spirit, Art for Life welcomes our Ceramics & Kids! - Sacramento program launched in March of 2006 in Sacramento, CA. Program Directors Jeffrey Russo, Susan Anderson and Anthony Knutson all bring their love of helping children to heal with art to this new and exciting program location. See one of the many wonderful Artists who enjoy our program - Click here!
Shriners Hospitals for Children® of Northern California is the only Shriners hospital for children that offers pediatric care in all three specialties: orthopaedics,spinal cord injury treatment and rehabilitation, and acute burn treatment and rehabilitation. Our program is offered every month and works with children up to the age of 18 being treated in all three specialties. Patients, siblings and family members are all encouraged to discover the joy of art and healing that comes from the creative process. Click here to see one artist's finished piece. And another! A special message to us from the kid's at Shriner's!
Art-To-Go Box - Various locations where our Ceramics programs are offered - Now in it's 5th year!
When it comes to an art program in any of our locations, timing is everything. Just ask the kids! They know the exact time we are going to be there and they know wheter or not they will be able to participate based on their schedule that day. Unfortunately, even with advance notice and a lot of help from hospital staff to arrange things around our program, over the years we have learned that we can't always be there for all the kids during the actual program time. So we decided to come up with a way that would allow the kids to create art - when it is a good time for them. So our Art-To-Go Box program was created. And as it states right on the box it is for --Art when YOU feel like it! Volunteers in our programs create Art-To-Go Boxes for any of the children who are not able to be a part of our program that day but are still in the hospital. Each kit contains everything needed to create the same art piece that the kids would have created had they been able to attend the program. Fortunately, now when we hear that a child doesn't feel like art right now or has a treatment or for some reason can not be a part of our program that day we let him or her know right away that they still can participate. With our Art-To-Go Box, kids can still create that special artistic masterpiece - when they feel like it! And at Art for Life, we think that when they feel like it...is the perfect time!
- Honolulu- Kapi'olani Women and Children's Medical Center, Honolulu HI - opened in August of 2007; Shriners Hospitals for Children® -Honolulu HI - Opened in November 2009.
For many, Hawaii has always had its own special healing energy. Since our programs work with healing energy through the creative process - it was a perfect place to offer our Ceramics & Kids! program. Both Children's Hospital locations share the love and joy that art and its healing abilities bring to the many kids they help every day. At Kapi'olani Women and Children's Medical Center we have Michelle and Ashley in Child Life as our program coordinators/facilitators and at Shriners Hospitals for Children® we have Helene in Recreation Therapy as our program coordinator/ facilitator. Each month all three coordinators and their volunteers make time in their own programming to bring our art program to some amazing kids. For that we say Mahalo nui loa! For a great photo of our program at Shriner's click here. For a wonderful article written about our program at Shriners click here. Don't you think that Art for Life and Paradise make a perfect pair? We do! Now close your eyes, feel that gentle tropical ocean breeze and say...Art heals!
Painting Hearts!-Arrived - February 2010! Center for Heart, Lung & Kidney Disease at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC.
Painting Hearts! is an arts program for children/young adult cardiac patients, their siblings and adult family members, as well as parents whose infant children are undergoing cardiac surgery and/or procedures. It provides participants with the opportunity to create their own unique ceramic heart in answer to the question: What makes your heart happy? Is it the love of your family? Is it your pet? Is it a favorite place? It could be all of these! They then express those thoughts visually on their own ceramic heart! Program Directors: Terry Spearman and Judy Ross bring to our program many years of experience in Child Life at Children's National Medical Center. They will be using our program in several areas to help ease the fear and stress that accompanies medical procedure for heart patients. Some examples: 1. Bedside to help a patient to understand that they can love their heart, feel good about it being fixed and to understand that their love and understanding of what makes their heart happy plays an important role in their healing process - family members are also encouraged to participate 2. When a child comes in for a full day of prep work prior to surgery it will help them be less stressful during that day's procedures and to help create a good memory of that day instead of a scary one. This kind of memory sets an emotional marker for how they will feel when they return to have the surgery/procedure done. 3. For parents of infants who have undergone heart surgery/procedures to help them feel more connected to their baby who is isolated due to the required healing time. Imagine giving birth to a child and not being allowed to hold and bond with him or her? Painting Hearts! will allow a creative bridge to reach out and help parents to emotionally touch their child. No matter how the program is used it is designed to offer a therapeutic atmosphere where participants can feel free to have fun and to express their feelings of what really does make their heart happy. Heart surgery and the hospitalization required for healing can often result in a lot of stress. Stress is something that can hinder healing. Painting Hearts! is here to help make this process a more calm one as well as allow patients the opportunity to feel they are a participant in their own journey of healing their heart.
" When children and adults incorporate art into their lives and use it to address health issues that create fear, they are empowering themselves to be an integral part of their fear's solution. Painting Hearts! allows both children and adults with infants undergoing cardiac procedures to directly have a say in healing their emotional hearts through art."
-Founder - Anthony Knutson
Boston- Shriners Hospitals for Children® - Boston, Massachusettes
Continuing a strong partnership with Shriner’s Hospitals for Children ® – Art for life opened our 3 rd Shriners location in historic Boston, MA. Our launch month of November 2010 is in honor of this Shriners 42 nd year in Boston having served Boston since opening its doors in November of 1968. Under the leadership of Therapeutic Services & Child Life, Ceramics & Kids-Boston funded by Art for Life operates this monthly program offering the healing and therapeutic modalities of art to children and their family members.
*The Shriners Hospitals for Children® specializing in burns have been leaders in pediatric burn care since opening in the 1960s. Patients receive treatment for burn injuries and related scarring, along with physical rehabilitation and emotional support. *Shriners website.
Other Shriners Hospitals for Children® locations with our programs are Sacramento, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. Welcome!
Artfelt Memories - Hospice of the East Bay - Pleasant Hill, CA - Hope Hospice - Dublin, CA & launched in May of 2012 our newest location: Palliative Care at Children's Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, CA
How do kids cope with the death of a parent or sibling? How do their parents cope with their loss of a spouse or child? And how do they express to each other how they are feeling in this very difficult and life changing process? Artfelt Memories is here to help. Working with children, teenagers and their parent(s) as a component in their bereavement counseling in both hospice and palliative care, our Artfelt Memories program gives each family member the opportunity to create a ceramic memory piece in honor of their loved one who has passed away. Whether it is a memory box, a memory bank or special plaque, both the children and surviving parent(s) create their own art as a way to capture their own unique memories of their loved one. Artfelt Memories offers each family a safe emotional space where they are able to feel it is okay to discuss and/or acknowledge the family loss. It provides the opportunity for them to work together at the same table as a family, while at the same time allowing for their individual art project to be a very personal expression of how they are feeling and remembering the sibling or parent that has died. Artfelt Memories helps participants to leave their final support group session with not only more knowledge of how to cope together with the death of a family member, but with a piece of art as a tangible reminder of this part of their very personal and shared emotional journey together. Art doing what art really does best: helping to heal.