Siblings support

Iv pole

The other day a patient came in for chemotherapy with two siblings. All three children immediately set up space in the art area to create for the two hour chemo infusion. The older of the siblings had not been to the clinic as frequently as the younger sibling and was excited at all the materials available to him. After a few rough inventions that he scrapped, he went about collecting materials to recreate his siblings “i.v. pole”. With cardboard tubes, a few boxes, some large spools, string, wooden dowels, and a failed teepee(my art project), the pole was complete. All the families and staff were impressed with his attention to detail. As this was his siblings last planned chemotherapy it seemed fitting to bring a piece of the clinic home with them. While this sibling was unable to attend the clinic as often as the rest of his family, he was affected by the machinery just the same.

The Mosaic is Complete!

The mosaic that the kids have busily been working on these last couple weeks is now complete! It looks great and we are lucky enough to have it on display in our clinic during the month of August. Check it out!

The completed mural!

The completed mosaic!

Rainbow

Rainbow

Ladybug fairy

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Leprechaun, pot of gold and eagle

Flowers and artist

Flowers and artist

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Thanks you for all your hard work!

The doctor with the glasses

On the middle right in this panel from our Carroll Square exhibit in 2012 you will see a portrait of me that was done by an older kid--note the glasses!

On the middle right in this panel from our Carroll Square exhibit in 2012 you will see a portrait of me that was done by an older kid–note the glasses!

A little guy (almost three) was preparing to come to clinic with his big brother, who is the patient. His mom told him they were going to the doctor. “The doctor with the glasses?,” he asked. “No,” said mom, “the doctor doesn’t have glasses.” As they arrived in the clinic he came straight to the art area and said, “This is the doctor with the glasses, she lets me paint!” And paint he did. . .

A Follow-up to the Flamingo

Several weeks ago, we wrote a blog post about a wonderful young artist who makes some fantastic creations during her time in the art therapy room. In June, we told you about a cardboard tube flamingo. Now, we would like to share one of her most recent creations – a coordinated costume for her pet (stuffed) dog.

This young lady always seems to come into the art room with a plan. She doesn’t usually share her thoughts, so we get to enjoy watching her creation come together with each sequin, dot of paint or piece of tape she adds. Of course, we usually have some idea in our heads of what she might be making… But we never want to underestimate her creativity. This six-year-old frequently reminds us of how amazingly resourceful children can be – especially those who face the challenge of cancer treatment.

What we thought was going to be a pretty traditional picture of a sunflower quickly morphed into a costume. And not just any costume… but one that completely coordinated with the artist’s outfit of the day!

She dressed her dog and “walked” him around the art room with pride!

RylieR&Oscar

Tie-Dye Summer Fun!

TIEDYE

Though tie-dye was a summer staple for me as a kid at summer camp, many of the patients and their families that I work with in the clinic had never done a tie-dye project! It was fun to introduce the kids to this colorful activity, and what I enjoyed most was the “happy accident” quality of this kind of art work. It requires little technical skill, but always turns out interesting and beautiful. There’s a surprise element and delayed gratification because you have to wait for a long time to see the end result, which makes it different from other art experiences to which the kids are accustomed.
This can be a pretty messy project, so preparation is key. Luckily, there is a lot of protective gear in an oncology clinic and the kids enjoyed using the medical supplies for artistic purposes. Dressed from head-to-toe in contact isolation gowns (usually worn by staff when going into a room when a child has a contagious illness) and latex gloves (which are plentiful!), each child wrapped rubber bands around plain, white bandanas. I purchased a tie-dye kit with powdered die already in squirt bottles, so all that was needed was water. This made the project more contained than the tie-dye of my youth, which typically involved big buckets, if memory serves. We then wrapped up the bandanas in our handy “Biohazard” baggies to let the die set.
A day later, the kids got to take home a beautiful bandana – great for protecting bald heads in the Texas summer heat. Each one was so unique, and kids and staff really enjoyed getting to see the final project.

The Art of Play

There often are young children in the art room, 2 to 4 year olds who like to play as well as do art. The interaction and storytelling that results is often very rich and has been a wonderful way to engage and connect with these younger patients. Themes of creating havoc and destruction and then finding ways to rescue and repair are played out over and over. Art materials like model magic are used to create rescue ropes, quicksand or mud. Dominoes, blocks and Legos are used to build walls, towers and castles and figures such as knights on horses, dragons and dinosaurs are the characters that play out the story line. The stories vary but the theme often remains consistent…the bad guys create trouble and the hero rescues those in need, and often these roles are interchangeable. The figures fall or are “pushed off a cliff” over and over, and they are rescued in various ways. As the rescue story ensues, it often ends with the rescued figures being repaired, nurtured and cared for.

This age group uses play as their work and these scenarios help them to address the issues they are facing such as loss of control, injury, fear related to treatment, as well as their desire and knowledge about providing support and tender care. Directing the story and being in control of the outcome provides a means for control of that world and an opportunity to address their struggles and strengths through the metaphor of play.

Champions Video!

One of our kids just sent me  the link to a wonderful music video that was made by Camp Simcha this summer. He’s one of a whole bunch of boys in the vidoe.  Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmI-nSjLtHE

And while you’re at it, take another look at Tracy’s Kids Keep Your Head up!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I91AVXNsb1c

Now you’re inspired for the rest of the day.

Summer Mosaic Project

As part of a summer project, two local high school students have been working hard with our kids over the last few weeks on a mosaic project. The finished work will be displayed (location to be announced) with the goal of educating the public about the benefits of art therapy. Both kids and parents have helped out this week, arranging hundreds of little glass tiles to create this beautiful piece of art. Kids were also invited to use clay to make their own mosaic tiles featuring whatever they wanted to include in the landscape. Their creations include flowers, leaping dolphins, a black widow spider, a leprechaun–and a “flying potato” (contributed by a very creative two year old!).

Here are some pictures of the work in progress: 

Our project leaders, Mave and Rachel

Our project leaders, Maeve and Rachel

Coming up with the idea

The landscape

The landscape

Drawing ideas

Clay objects created by the kids

Close up of clay creations

Close up of clay creations

Laying out the mosiac tiles

Laying out the mosaic tiles

Tracy’s Kids and Junior Monet

The Tracy’s Kids gallery at the Junior Monet website is beginning to fill up with wonderful artwork from our kids. Here is the link to the gallery

and a couple of photos giving you an idea of the great products you can order–they make great gifts and they benefit Tracy’s Kids.

A selection of Tracy's Kids products on Junior Monet

A selection of Tracy’s Kids products on Junior Monet

Junior Monet has started a great new campaign called “Art for a Cure” and “Art for a Cause.” If you purchase items from these collections, Junior Monet will make an additional donation to Tracy’s Kids! Take a look, happy shopping, and keep checking back for more art from our kids!

Art for a Cause benefits Tracy's Kids

Art for a Cause benefits Tracy’s Kids

Scribbling Siblings 2013

Hi! My name is Amanda Andrews and I’m the newest member of the Tracy’s Kids art therapy team at Children’s National Medical Center.  I’m an art therapy graduate of George Washington University, where I discovered my passion for working with oncology populations and in medical settings. I am here for the summer to work primarily with the siblings of the children who are here for treatment and appointments, but I also get to interact and make art with many of the patients themselves.
 
The siblings I work with get an opportunity to create their own art work at the art center in the waiting room – We like to call it “Scribblin’ Siblings”.  It’s a great place for them to share, create, and explore while they wait.
Since it’s summer and these kids are spending a lot of their time in a boring waiting room, I try to keep things fun! I’ve been working to create various, inviting themes each week to keep things interesting and to provide an environment that allows the kids to be themselves.
 
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We’ve been working on projects like these:
 
Make your own giant shield
Creating superheroes with super powers
Make and fly paper airplanes
 
The very hungry caterpillar
catepillar string
   
Bones and X-Rays
xrays
 
Make your own turtle
turtle bowl
 
 
 
It’s been great getting to know the kids who are here each week, becoming the art table regulars. Some of them have even started teaching ME how to make things and showing me ideas that I can share with everyone else.
 
I’m looking forward to a fun and creative summer with these siblings!