A number of talented patients – and employees – showcased their artistic gifts at Akron Children’s Expressive Therapy Open House last month.
About 150 people enjoyed the music, art and dancing provided by our patients and their art therapists. For some of the kids, who struggle with chronic illnesses that keep them hospitalized much of the year, the open house gives them an opportunity to participate in a recital, an event many typical kids take for granted.
“I think giving them an opportunity to perform their songs gives patients an opportunity to share their music,” said Sarah Tobias, music therapist at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Sharing is an important part of creation and often you don’t have that opportunity when you’re in a therapy setting.”
Aundrea Cantu, 13, sang “Everybody” by Ingrid Michelson; Ayani Buckmon, 16, played “On our way” on guitar by Lana Del Ray.
The Boombinos, a group of 6 staff members who play Boomwhackers, were a crowd favorite. A boomwhacker is a pitched plastic tube that when played in a group can be used to form songs and melodies.
Members of the Boombinos include Judy Griggs, of the hospital’s Family Resource Center; Lin Chrisopulos, of Healthcare Business Solutions; Sarah Tobias, of the Expressive Arts: Lisa Larocca, of Accounting; Jen Czarnecki, internal auditor; and Anne Hodos, of hematology-oncology.
The Boombinos performed the popular hits “Eye of the Tiger,” “The Climb,” “Ordinary Miracle,” and “Let it Be.”
Poetry was also part of the celebration. Mathew Himes, 14, wrote a poem called “Superhero background check,” which was read by Nikki Robison, poetry facilitator. Alissa Parr, 17, also read her own poetry at the open house.
Ashley Hites shared her daughter Emily’s poem “Bluebird.” Emily wrote the poem last year before she died from cancer.
Art therapist Molly Kohut was proud of the many artistic creations on exhibit, including 3D artwork sculpture and framed art work by patients, as well as staff artwork created in the Expressive Therapy studio.
Kellie Lightfoot, a pediatric physical therapist who coordinates dance classes for kids with special needs, was proud of her group’s performance. The Dance Unlimited dancers have been practicing for months for the performance and clearly were having a great time dancing together and for the enjoyment of their families.
“These kids attend so many of their siblings’ practices and performances throughout the year,” said Lightfoot. “The Expressive Therapy Open House gives these kids a chance to show off for their families. It offers an opportunity for them to play a starring role for a change.”