Arts for Healing

Arts for Healing programs at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital offer children creative expression through daily group activities and bedside sessions with our team of professional artists, and art and music therapists. Through the creative process, patients increase self-expression, develop skills that support resilience and discover additional ways to cope with pain, isolation or anxiety that support healing. Please ask your child life specialist about activities available on your unit.

Our program, invites young people to have fun turning their imagination and everyday experiences into art, video, digital art, music, rap, poetry and more during their hospital stay. Each expression captures a moment along their journey.

Creating and sharing art in the hospital helps to build community. The shared experience of art making encourages relationships and fosters resilience. Patient work may be shared in the hospital and community through exhibits and performances or printed in our literary magazine, the Lightning Zine.

Programs include:

  • Art Therapy, offering a non-verbal process for expression and self-discovery through digital art and other media.
  • Daily Activities and events, easing the stress and isolation of the hospital experience and allowing families to enjoy time together away from the medical routine. Patients unable to attend groups are offered similar activities in their room.
  • Digital Storytelling (multimedia production), in which children learn about multimedia production and explore all phases of video making as a tool for self-expression.
  • Music Therapy, supporting healing through singing, music play, improvisation, song-writing and music-assisted imagery that address the emotional and developmental needs of children of all ages.
  • Neonatal Music Therapy, adapting live music to provide gentle stimulation for growth and development or soothing sounds to comfort our most fragile infants and support the parent-child relationship.
  • Poetry and Spoken Word, encouraging children and teens to give voice to their feelings and their world, including their healthcare experience.
  • Storytime, children’s literature into interactive and educational experiences using songs, chants and art.  Bedside stories are offered to young children unable to attend groups.
  • DoSo® Music, introducing children to the fundamentals of music through singing, strumming and song-writing. Using small 3-string Loog guitars and other instruments, the program allows patients and family members to experience the joy of making music together in just minutes.

Partner Program 
Arts for Healing collaborates with community organizations to enhance our programs.
Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Hospital Outreach Program, brings the joy of camp activities to the hospital setting through recreational and fun activities designed to build positive self-esteem.

Arts for Healing is made possible solely through donations. Your support is essential to our work. Please consider making a contribution.

View works of art by patients on the Arts for Healing album on Yale New Haven Children's Hospital Facebook page.


Amaodo's Story

Amaodo, age 17, had a history of asthma, so the trouble she was having with her breathing didn't alarm her—at first. But last fall, when the symptoms became worse, she went to her doctor. She was diagnosed with a rare disorder that causes weakness of the skeletal muscles.

Read Amaodo's story

Caitlynn's Story

Yale New-Haven Children's Hospital patient Caitlynn has Sickle Cell disease. Arts for Healing helped her write and record a powerful rap to express her feelings about the disease. Her lyrics were transformed by other patients into artwork and a song, which was later performed in an original musical.

Watch the video