Children’s hospital renames arts program

The Child Life Arts & Enrichment Program at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital has been renamed Arts for Healing, according to the program’s February newsletter.

“Through the art program,” the newsletter indicates, “patients are empowered as active partners in their own healing. Our new name, Arts for Healing, reflects the program’s role in the healing journey for children and families.”

In the May 2010 issue of The Arts Paper, Yale University student Cynthia Weaver wrote, “Since its inception as part of the hospital’s Child Life Department in 2003, the Arts & Enrichment Program has explored each avenue of the arts, nurturing and comforting over 4,000 hospitalized children and their families each year. The Child Life Department, established in 1967, plays a critical role in reducing fear and anxiety, improving the experiences of hospitalized children through the use of age-appropriate educational, therapeutic, and creative programming and activities. … A wide range of activities including performances, workshops, art activities, story-times, theater, and more are offered to patients, parents, siblings, and visitors.”

The above-mentioned newsletter explains that “the arts … have a measurable impact on physical health. Mind-body research provides evidence of the link between what we think and feel and how our bodies function. This link lends credence to what artists intrinsically know — that the arts support healing.”

Writing for the New Haven Independent in May 2011, Christine Saari reported that “Yale-New Haven Hospital has received (National Endowment for the Arts) support for the Child Life Arts and Enrichment Program Digital Storytelling Project, which brings professional artists to teach hospitalized youth how to create digital stories. Through interactions with artists, young patients who are either living with chronic illness or who experience a lengthy or difficult hospital stay, learn arts skills and produce work that reflects their perspective on living with illness.”

The Arts for Healing newsletter indicates that the program was “awarded a Learning in the Arts grant for 2013 from the National Endowment for the Arts for its digital storytelling program” and that “Arts for Healing is (otherwise) sustained through philanthropy.”

A version of this story was published in March in the New Haven Independent.

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