Pediatric Patients Showcase Their Art at 7th Annual “Artful Healing for Our Heroes” Exhibit

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Miller Children's patient, Natalie, proudly displays the beach themed work of art she created at the  7th Annual “Artful Healing for Our Heroes” art exhibit.

Miller Children’s patient, Natalie, proudly displays the beach themed work of art she created at the
7th Annual “Artful Healing for Our Heroes” art exhibit.

On Friday, Oct. 24, dozens of patients, families, nurses and visitors made their way to Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach for the 7th Annual “Artful Healing for Our Heroes” art exhibit. The show compiled artwork of former and current Miller Children’s patients created throughout the year at the hospital. Centered on the theme of “the boardwalk,” the works of art ranged from very literal scenic pieces to expressionist style interpretations of the theme.

With almost 50 works of art on display, the art show brought together the talents of each patient and highlighted their various forms of interpretation. Leaving the artistic choices up to the patients helped to create a diverse show where you could see various types of artwork including paintings and collages side-by-side. Featured artists at the show ranged in age from 1 to
18-years-old.

All of the art on display was created during sessions of the Artful Healing Program led by Miller Children’s resident artist, Denise Clayton-Leonard. The Artful Healing Program uses the creative process of designing art to improve the physical, mental and emotional well being of patients during hospitalization. Art therapy provides an environment for patients, their parents and siblings to come to terms with emotional conflicts and express often unspoken and unconscious concerns about the struggles they face as a family.

“Creating a work of art can sometimes speak louder than words,” says Clayton-Leonard. “Being able to take a blank canvas and turn that into something beautiful and unique is great for these kids. With the Artful Healing Program our patients have the opportunity to express themselves in an abstract manner and escape from the hospital experience for a bit.”

Visitors of the art show were encouraged to create works of art at the event with Clayton-Leonard and her volunteers from the Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary. Various Halloween and beach themed crafts were available, as well as an interactive music session for those looking to create audible art.

As a thank you for their support of the Artful Healing Program throughout the years, Clayton-Leonard presented three unique works of art created by patients, which were presented to representatives from Aaron Brothers Art & Framing, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 63, and Sandy King, coordinator, government relations, Long Beach Memorial.

The Artful Healing Program is one of many programs that fall under the Child Life Program at Miller Children’s to improve the hospitalization experience for kids. The Child Life program was developed to help make the hospital experience more positive for children of all ages. Child Life Specialists use medical play and distraction techniques to help children adjust to their hospital stay and promote the continuity of normal, daily childhood activities.

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