Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services

hospital artwork

Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services helps children transcend the hospital experience by bringing the cultural arts, arts education, and animal visitation to patients at bedside and in the Atrium. Activities encourage continued learning, promote wellness through self expression, and speed the healing process.

Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services also displays art throughout the hospital. Our Young Expressions Gallery features visual and literary work created by hospital patients. Their work is also featured in the Young Expressions newsletter, a that is written by and distributed to patients. Works from regional artists are shown in “The Gallery” located on the first floor West Wing. We host four shows each year.

Understanding the special bond between children and pets, Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services, Family Services and Volunteer Services partner with the Greenbelt Dog Trainers to host monthly visits in the Atrium and playrooms. The dogs perform obedience skills, jumps and tricks with hoops and skateboards, and even do a little "Doggie Dancing" in our Atrium before heading up to the playrooms with their trainers to bring a little extra comfort to our patients who look forward to spending time with their new furry friends.

Hospital, Family, and Community-Based

Hospital, Family, and Community-Based Special Programs and Projects

Children's Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services program are involved in several programs and projects:

  •     Creating Healing Spaces
  •     Phillips Collaborative
  •     Beads of Courage
  •     Legacy of Love
  •     Jazz for a Healthier Generation

Creating Healing Spaces

Creating Healing Spaces softens the hospital environment and makes it warmer and more inviting by using rich paint colors, refurbished lighting fixtures, and other audio and visual stimulators. Artwork donated by professional artists or created by children can be found throughout the hospital transforming plain white corridors into sunny passages. Images from the Creating Healing Spaces campaign were submitted and accepted for publication in Designing the World’s Best Children’s Hospitals: The Future of Healing Environments. As a result, we created the first formalized Art Acquisition Program to build a permanent collection.

Phillips Collaborative

In 2004, we began collaborating with the Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art. Together, we developed and launched an “arts in medicine program” in 2006. Thirteen images chosen from the Phillips Collection are used to provoke conversations with the hospital patients. The images often evoke a great deal of emotion for many patients, sparking a deep and revealing conversation with the facilitator. 

Beads of Courage

Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services introduced Beads of Courage, a multi-hospital arts-in-medicine program, to our cardiology patients and families in January 2009.  Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services teamed with Child Life, Social Work and Cardiology to provide participants with colorful beads that symbolize milestones on their journey and become a creative visual record of each child’s medical story and a means to strengthen resilience.

Legacy of Love

Legacy of Love was designed to assist patients, parents, siblings, and staff as they grieve the loss of a loved one. Participants are empowered mentally, physically, and spiritually as they move through the healing process utilizing the visual arts, literary arts, music, dance/movement, and puppetry. Workshops are co-facilitated by an Arts Program Specialist and either a social worker, chaplain, or bereavement specialist. Celebrating a Spirit, an initiative that is part of the Legacy program, provides photographic services to the families of Children’s National who have children facing life-threatening conditions.

Jazz for a Healthier Generation

Jazz for a Healthier Generation promotes a healthier lifestyle, wellness, and rehabilitation while also exposing young people and adults to jazz. This program in partnership with the DC Jazz Festival will bring jazz musicians to perform in our Main Atrium, waiting rooms, and patient floors.

Student Initiatives

Student Initiatives - Mentoring and Intern Programs

An internship program was established with The George Washington University’s Graduate Art Therapy program where participants receive hands on training with Arts Program Specialists, assist Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services with hospital programming and other arts outreach projects, and are required to complete a student project. Selected students must demonstrate proficiency in the visual arts prior to acceptance; we accept no more than three students per school year (Sept – June).

Summer intern opportunities are open to undergraduate students who are studying and can demonstrate proficiency in the visual arts, music, and/or dance/movement. Students must apply and complete the orientation process before July 1; we accept no more than two students each summer.

Office Hours:

  • Monday – Friday, 9 am – 4:30 pm