Hot Air Balloons!

Many, many dots of hot glue and several rolls of mounting tape later… We have finally finished our collaborative mural!

This is the 2013 edition of our collaborative project that the Tracy’s Kids art therapists have been doing with other art therapists at Children’s National Medical Center since 2010. Children from all over the hospital contributed to this beautiful project, and it’s wonderful to get to see their individual personalities shining through in little details throughout the image. These painted hot air balloons were inspired by the giant hot air balloons that hang in Children’s National’s main atrium.

Not only are those fantastic sculptures a fun and whimsical addition for the kids who visit Children’s National, but they are a great way to help provide directions throughout the hospital for parents!

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. . .

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.
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
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!  

Drawing Food!

A lot of times when our kids have to wait to eat until after a medical procedure, they choose to do art about food. Sculpting pizzas, cakes, cupcakes, drawing hamburgers, fruit, or ice cream is very common at the art table. Many of the kids drawing all this food have gone without breakfast–and sometimes lunch too–waiting for a test or scan that involves sedation. I always thought it was curious that of all the things that seemed to help kids who couldn’t eat, drawing their favorite foods was a big one!


An article in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science may shed some light on this phenomenon. Researchers asked subjects to draw picture of  cupcakes, pizza, strawberries or green peppers. They found that drawing pizza elevated the subjects’ moods by 28%, cupcakes and strawberries by 27% and 22% respectively, green peppers only 1%. So maybe our kids knew intuitively that drawing food, even when they couldn’t have it, would make them feel better.

Here’s the citation and a link to the full article if you want to know more:

G. Privitera, B. Moshaty, F. Marzullo and M. Misenheimer, “Expressing Food through Art: Evidence for a Nutrient-Specific Effect on Mood,” Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2013, pp. 163-167. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2013.32016.

Kari Kant and Tracy’s Kids

A couple weeks ago American flags created by patients from the DC and Virginia Tracy’s Kids locations were featured in an art exhibit along side the work of artist, Kari Kant. The art show was a lot of fun and we were so happy for the opportunity to share the kids’ artwork!  Thank you again to Kari Kant and to everyone who came out to show their support!

Here are some pictures from the show: 

Tracy's Kids team with Kari Kant and Sabra Rogers

Tracy’s Kids team with Kari Kant and Sabra Rogers

Gretchen and Jess in front of the found object flag created at CCBD of Northern VA.

Gretchen and Jess in front of the found object flag created at CCBD of Northern VA.

Tracy and Kate in front of the syringe painted flag created at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.

Tracy and Kate in front of the syringe painted flag created at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.

String quartet

String quartet


Hooray for Scribbles!

Young children like to experiment with paint. To a three or four-year old, mixing colors is scientific enquiry. What happens when you mix blue and yellow?  red and yellow?  red and green? all the colors together?–when you’re little it’s a revelation. Many small children perform these experiments over and over, trying out combinations until the paper is covered in what looks like a blackish blob.

Art and Science Converge

Art and Science Converge

Sometimes adults wonder if there is something wrong when a little one’s paintings turn to black. They see them start with beautiful bright colors and then come up with black-ish soup. Does all that black suggests depression? sadness? a lack of imagination? In most cases it is just the opposite. Creative exploration without judgment is important to cognitive development. Pretty is not always the point. Kids need to try out every imaginable combination for themselves, over and over, to understand how what they do influences what shows up on the paper. So next time your little person asks to paint, say yes–and turn them loose!


During a recent visit to the clinic’s art room, a very creative six-year-old immediately began gathering materials – several giant paper towel rolls, some masking tape, and pink construction paper.  This young lady always has a very clear plan of what she wants to make in the art room, but this was obviously going to be an extra-special creation. 

Our young artist worked quietly and very intently at the art table, never looking up. Eventually, she gathered a few more materials, including orange and black paint, extra-large googly eyes and a bunch of pink feathers.  The art therapists waited in anticipation to see what she was going to create that morning.  A few helping hands, careful placement of tape and a couple of strategic scissor snips later…


And we had a bright pink flamingo, with a smiling orange beak make its debut in the art room.  It is has been great fun to have our friend, the flamingo, sitting on our counter and watching over the creativity that happens in the art room everyday.

CNMC American Flag!

Local artist, Kari Kant, has graciously chosen Tracy’s Kids as a charitable partner for her art show on the Rooftop Terrace of the Newseum Building. A portion of the sales from her abstract paintings will be donated to Tracy’s Kids – Thank you so much, Kari!

Maybe even more exciting, she invited the children served by each of the Tracy’s Kids chapters to create their own artwork to be included in her show. Each Tracy’s Kids site has created their own version of the American flag, inspired by one of Kari Kant’s abstract motifs. To recognize the Kari Kant art show opening this evening, we wanted to give everyone a preview of the American flag created by the children and teenagers at the main campus of Children’s National Medical Center.

Our flag brings together the smaller individual works of over twenty different participants in the Tracy’s Kids program at the CCBD at CNMC. The unique qualities of each person are certainly visible, but the overall image of the flag speaks to the community that can be fostered through creativity and art-making.


Thank you to Kari Kant for supporting Tracy’s Kids and for inviting our children and their artwork to have a moment in the spotlight alongside her own paintings!

Location Change

Due to the threat of thunderstorms, tonight’s art exhibit, Abstractions by Kari Kant, with additional work by Tracy’s Kids, will be moved to its rain location, the offices of BGR Group, 601 Thirteenth St., NW, Washington, DC, Eleventh Floor. We hope to see you there!

Note rain location at bottom of invitation!!

Note rain location at bottom of invitation!!