Coloring Pages

One of the most fantastic things about being an art therapist for Tracy’s Kids is seeing the endless number of ways kids express themselves through art materials.  We are surprised on a daily basis – paper towel tubes become flamingos and model magic turn into a glittery galaxy.  With all of the wonderful and enticing art supplies we are so lucky to have, it is very easy to overlook an unsung hero in the art room – coloring pages!

There is so much to be said for a couple of coloring pages and a box of crayons.  Printing images of a new patient’s favorite superhero or animal offer us a great way to begin developing a therapeutic relationship.  Having ready a patient’s favorite pictures following a difficult blood draw can facilitate a transition from tears to coping through coloring.  We can quickly offer a child a comforting and familiar image to make the hospital less of a scary place.  

Being presented with an image can be a lot less intimidating than facing a blank piece of paper.  Coloring within lines (when developmentally appropriate) can be a calming and containing experience when coping with anxiety or pain.  Parents and family members of patients often request mandalas (circle drawings) as a therapeutic way to pass time and gain a sense of calm.  Even we (the art therapists and other staff members) sometimes find ourselves coloring as a great way to regroup after a very busy day.  We’ve found that you are never too old to enjoy coloring!


Junior Monet

 We are working with a company called Junior Monet to make items with the Tracy’s Kids logo or works of art by our kids available for purchase from their website. They have zillions of products-magnets, buttons, key chains, water bottles, aprons, dry erase boards, laptop sleeves, messenger bags–even neckties!

Right now the only image in our Junior Monet gallery is the Tracy’s Kids logo, but we will be inviting kids to create artwork especially for the project, so check back in a week or two to see what is available. We think the kids will get a kick out of seeing their art made into functional objects, and families, staff and friends will enjoy collecting the kids’ art. Click on the Junior Monet logo above and it will take you to a preview page  so you can see  the different products.  And best of all, Tracy’s Kids will receive 30% of every purchase!

It’s coming together…

Between a busy art room full of patients, siblings and other family members out of school for Spring Break and making our usual visits to inpatient rooms we have been on our toes these past few weeks!  During a few spare moments we have begun to put together pieces of our collaborative canvas project from Creative Arts Therapies Week.  It has been so fun to see how smaller pieces of artwork born of so many different visions can come together to create something entirely new! 

Here is a glimpse of our progress! And we’ll show you the final project very soon… Stay tuned!


Creative Arts Therapies Week!

This week is Creative Arts Therapies Week, which recognizes all of the amazing creative arts therapies (art, music, dance and drama)!  In the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s National Medical Center, we celebrated our fantastic art therapists and our music therapist by collaborating on a hospital-wide art project AND hosting a creative art therapies booth for patients and families!

Tracy’s Kids art therapists facilitated a hospital-wide collaborative mural that has become a tradition over the past several years to recognize and celebrate all of the Creative Arts Therapies at Children’s National. Canvases are painted by children, teenagers and young adults throughout the hospital– each contributing their artwork to be part of a much bigger picture.  Here are just a few of the pieces of the mural…


Patients, family members and staff are all excitedly awaiting the “unveiling” – when all of the mural’s pieces are put together and the completed piece finally appears in one of our hallways. We’ll be sure to share it with all of you on the Tracy’s Kids blog once the mural is finished!

The Tracy’s Kids art therapists also hosted a creative arts therapy booth in the Children’s National Medical Center cafeteria. We had the opportunity to work with patients and families that we would normally never meet and to introduce them to art therapy!

Stay tuned to see our mural as it’s completed!

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

Hi Everybody,I want to invite all our friends–and encourage you to invite your friends too, to a special event on Tuesday, March 19 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Mazza Gallery in Washington, DC. Here’s the story:Tracy’s Kids received a generous grant in honor of the launch of Luxe810 — DSW‘s new online destination for luxury shoe brands like Gucci, Prada, Bottega Venetta, YSL, Sergio Rossi, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Pucci & Giuseppe Zanotti.  Please help us say ‘thank you’ by going to their Pop-Up Shop in Mazza Gallery on Tuesday, March 19, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  The Luxe810 store is located on the concourse level of Mazza Gallerie.  Please come and invite your friends!

 You shop for designer shoes and accessories starting at 80% off.  Tracy’s Kids is enriched.  Everyone wins. 

Happily Hungry on the Today Show!

The Today show aired a wonderful story on Danielle Navidi’s cookbook for kids with cancer, Happily Hungry! It came out of her experience as the mom of a pediatric cancer patient at Lombardi. Check out this great story!

Art Therapy on the BBC!

We were delighted to be part of a story by the BBC about the field of art therapy. The story tries to get at how and why art therapy works. It features interviews with art therapists Donna Betts and Heidi Bardot, as well as students from GWU’s Art Therapy program and some great footage of our own Kate Martin working with some of our wonderful kids.

Here’s the link:

 BBC News Magazine

Click here to find out more!

The Power of Art: Can creativity cure the sick?

 25 February 2013 Last updated at 21:03 ET
Can unleashing inner creativity heal the sick?

Nine-year-old leukaemia patient Ryan is in no doubt. “It makes you feel like you can do anything really,” he says of the art therapy classes he enjoys, thanks to a US charity.

The American military has also long embraced art therapy, using it as a core treatment to help veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now top brass are leading research to find out why this kind of treatment works.

As Jane O’Brien reports in the second part of our Power of Art series, mounting clinical evidence of art’s medical benefits could bring new and exciting ways to harness its power.

Lombardi Magazine Features Tracy’s Kids

The Tracy’s Kids art exhibit at Lombardi Cancer Center is featured in the February edition of the Lombardi Magazine online.


Here’s the link to a really great article about the exhibit and our program at Lombardi:

Message in a Bottle (Actually, Under a Bottle Cap)

Most everyone reading this has (at some point or another) consumed a beverage whose brilliant marketing campaign includes having a witty saying or bizarre fact printed on the underside of the bottle cap.  Before you even take a sip, you feel compelled turn over the cap and read the message… It is simply irresistible.

Several months ago, fate missed me by a few feet and gave a bottle of tea (obviously meant for me) to one of my dear friends. That bottle cap carried this message…

Art therapist, more fun than doctor.

More Fun Than Doctor

A phrase that art therapists hear time and time again is, “your job looks like SO MUCH FUN!”  And I cannot argue with that – We really do get to have a lot of fun, throwing paint and sand and glitter around the art therapy room. But art therapy is so much more. We work very hard, trying to support patients and their families through a very challenging time in their lives. Sometimes, our most difficult task of the day is helping kids be able to have fun, even while they are in the hospital. Seeing children (who had been quiet and withdrawn earlier in their hospitalizations) get back to JUST HAVING FUN is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work.

Every day we go to work, we get to have some of the most meaningful interactions imaginable. We truly do have the very best jobs in the world. And we do have a lot of fun.

My thanks to Jackie Verrecchia, the author of this wonderful six-word memoir.

“Keep your head up!”

At last night’s “And the Winner is  Tracy’s Kids”  Red Carpet fundraiser we premiered our music video to Andy Grammer’s song “Keep Your Head Up!” It’s pretty much guaranteed to make you smile– great advice from our wonderful kids. Check it out, it will make your day.

And here are some pictures of the Big Heads making their way to last night’s event and back to the hospital to be returned to the kids!

Big heads on their way to the Red Carpet

Big heads on their way to the Red Carpet

Kate and the Big Heads in the Main Hallway at Georgetown

Kate and the Big Heads in the Main Hallway at Georgetown

Back in Lombardi Lobby

Back in Lombardi Lobby